David Marks, the brains behind the project, admitted that the steel for the tower has already been rolled and the project is ‘shovel-ready’, however it seems this is one more plan with potential that has fallen foul of the credit crunch. Once – or indeed if – the i360 is constructed, the 183m high tower will steal the title of Britain’s tallest observation tower, supplying breathtaking panoramic views of the vibrant multicultural city of Brighton, the unrefined beauty of the South Downs and along the rugged Sussex coastline.
Local paper ‘The Argus’ drew attention to the lack of interest from prospective investors yesterday, asserting that the i360 was now certain to miss its original deadline for completion – the 2012 Olympic Games. Despite quoting Tony Mernagh of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership who speculated: “I would expect a business whose core market is young and trendy would be attracted to this, someone like a fashion label or maybe an alcohol brand” The Argus seemed unwilling to address the question of whether or not such a contestable investor is what Brighton really needs at this moment in time.
Whilst Brighton may be the dream destination for seemingly endless stag and hen parties, the city seems to be slowly clawing back some of its original reputation as a cultured and artistic cosmopolitan seaside destination. Situated just in front of the now decimated West Pier, Marks Barfield’s i360 - complete with ascending and descending circular viewing platform - should allow tourists and locals alike to capture Brighton for the glory it retains in its architecture, away from the swaying stags and heaving hens at street level.