The Safra Group, a conglomerate and investment group controlled by Joseph Safra and family, is behind a bid to build a new 305-metre tower in the heart of the City of London.
Dubbed the Tulip, the tower is designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners and will be the tallest building in the City, although not in London – the Shard, in south London, will be a metre taller.
If planning permission is granted, the Tulip will be built next to the Gherkin building, which the Safra Group bought in 2014 for an estimated £700 million.
The Safra family are big investors in real estate. In 2013, M. Safra & Co, a family office set up by Joseph’s deceased brother Moise and now run by members of the family, jointly purchased a 40% stake in New York’s General Motors building for an estimated $1.4 billion. The family have acquired commercial property around the world, much in prestigious locations like London’s Bond Street.
Joseph was one of the four sons of Jacob Safra, a Lebanese banker. One of those brothers was Edmund Safra, one of the most successful bankers of the 20th century, who set up the Republic Bank of New York and sold it to HSBC shortly before his death in December 1999.