ONE of Southampton’s most iconic office buildings has been put up for sale for nearly £30m.

The freehold of Skandia House, the landmark purpose-built headquarters for the financial services giant, has been put on the market for £28.5m by its pension fund owner Legal & General.

The move comes after Skandia Life business Services, which leases the building for Skandia’s UK headquarters, signed an extension to its tenancy.

It will give the buyer a £2m annual rent, or £19 per square foot, for at least the next 15 years.

The sale of the seven-storey offices will be a key test of investor appetite for top class offices outside London.

Legal & General bought Skandia House in October 2009 at the height of the downturn for £21.3m.

Property agents Jones Lang Lasalle hailed it as “one of Southampton’s finest office buildings”.

The offices were completed in 1990 and substantially refurbished during the last five years.

The sale for the 108,857 square feet Grade A office block would be the largest office deal in the city since the city council bought its new six-storey Guildhall Square offices for £25m in April 2010.

Pall Europe paid around £20m for Raymarine’s 110,680 square feet Marine House in Portsmouth in April last year.

Skandia last year confirmed it was laying off 86 staff at its city headquarters, around one in 20 of its workforce, as part of a restructuring drive. More of its Business is conducted online requiring fewer workers. It followed the announcement of 150 job losses in a cost-cutting programme in 2010. It now employs around 1,500 workers in Southampton.

Skandia UK is part of the wealth management business of South African financial giant Old Mutual plc.