Roche has decided not to press ahead with plans to redevelop its headquarters site in Basel which would have involved the construction of Switzerland's highest office tower block.

The company says it is not going ahead with the construction of the 550 million Swiss franc ($450 million) project “for technical reasons”. The original plans included a 154-metre high-rise in the shape of a helix but Roche says it “became apparent during the project design phase that the building would not be capable of satisfying key functional requirements despite the high investment”. The new buildings would also have been “very complex to maintain and operate”.

The firm says that it will now “prepare an alternative project” which, like the original plan, is scheduled for completion by 2011 and will consolidate the 1,700-plus off-site workplaces in Basel at its headquarters. Chief executive Severin Schwan said that “after examining the project closely, we came to the conclusion that although the office high-rise was feasible, it was unable to meet all our functional requirements”. Specifically, the company would have had to forego a large 500-seat auditorium and several central meeting rooms.