London's Shard continues skyward
Despite the credit crunch, despite the collapse of half of the world’s financial system, despite the latest credit crisis in Dubai, the Shard, Europe’s tallest tower continues to rise out of the ground. That was the message from Sellar, the developer at their London press briefing this week.
The developers and their Qatari Royal family backers were so confident of progress that even now, some 18 months into the site phase, they reaffirmed the completion date as the 14th May, 2012. No slippage here, not a day. Caught up in the moment, one journalist asked if they had a time on the 14th. Outside, Mace the main contractors were lifting steels for the core and part of the exterior wall, focused on their target to deliver over 1.5 floors per week leading to a topping out planned for the end of 2010.
Joking aside, it is a monumental moment for London. The Shard, or the London Bridge Quarter as it has grown into, now encompassing the adjoining building, the new bus station, rail station platform and the Thameslink rail viaduct is the largest urban regeneration London has seen since the war. The complex will deliver one million square feet of floor space, 50% of it pre-let. The developer brushed aside onslaughts from Peter Bill of Estates Gazette questioning the value of the works and others fretting about the un-let space with an assurance that, thanks to the backing of the Qataris, “we are in no hurry to market the remaining space, in fact we are not actually offering the space at the moment.”
By this time next year, all being well, London will have the biggest Christmas tree in Europe.