Banking giant HSBC is planning to sell and leaseback its headquarters building at Canary Wharf

The decision to sell the 1m sq ft (929,022 sq m) HSBC tower at 8 Canada Square was made at a board meeting last night following the recommendation of its property advisor, CB Richard Ellis.

It is thought that the building could be worth up to £800m, and a sale at this price would be Britain’s most valuable. The skyscraper serves as the international headquarters for HSBC, and houses around 8,000 staff.

The 45 storey, 200 metre tower was designed by Lord Foster. Construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2002. It is the second largest tower in the UK after the neighbouring Citigroup Centre, with trading room floor plates of around 45,000 sq ft (4,180 sq m).

HSBC is expected to sign a new 15-year lease on the property, and its decision is based on a wish to cash in on what many see as the continuing strength of the investment market.

Some observers believe the sale price may reach £1bn, although at this stratospheric price potential buyers would be few and far between.