Tower finances cast shadow over project
Funding for London’s tallest tower is once again in crisis mode. The troubled £350 million London Bridge Tower ( LBT) known as the Shard of Glass by Renzo Piano is scheduled to be the tallest building in Europe, and has been heralded as an exemplar design. However, once again a crisis is brewing around Syrian born Simon Halabi who owns a third share of the project. He has been in the news over his disasterous £460 million investment in Esporta, the sports and fitness chain which went into admistration this month. His personal losses on Esporta have raised questions about his involvement with the LBT but as with any private individual, finances can be difficult to unravel. The total value of his commercial property empire has been estimated at up to £5bn, of which around £2bn is equity. Halabi is no stranger to controversy. His previous row with LBT co-developer Irvine Sellar had acrimonilously ended up in court. Earlier this year Halabi also had a run-in with his advisers. In July, a case was brought by KPMG against him for unpaid fees, but Halabi settled at the doors of the court, reportedly paying some £1.2m to the accountancy firm.
Enabling works and demolition have already started on LBT and the project is due for completion in 2011.