Shanghai starts work on what may be nation's tallest building
Bill Savadove in Shanghai
Shanghai is planning to build what could be the mainland's tallest building at more than 500 metres high, dwarfing other contenders to the title in the city, some state media reported yesterday.
Under one plan, the Shanghai Centre building, as it is tentatively called, would be 580 metres tall.
That would make the skyscraper higher than the city's Jinmao Tower, which is now a major tourist attraction at 421 metres and the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which is expected to open to tenants within months, and soars to 492 metres.
The new building will be a short distance from the other two skyscrapers, creating a cluster of the mainland's highest buildings in what will be a focal point of Shanghai's financial district.
But the Shanghai building probably will not be the tallest in the world, with the planned Dubai Tower and another under construction in South Korea already planned to soar even higher, the Oriental Morning Post said.
Critics have labelled Shanghai's drive to construct higher buildings as wasteful. However, others say the city's development as an international financial centre has created a need for more office space and the buildings are required.
The Shanghai Development and Reform Commission - a local government agency - has approved the new building but it was unclear if any other regulatory hurdles needed to be cleared.
On the site yesterday, workers were demolishing buildings and a golf driving range which occupy the plot. Construction was expected to begin this year, reports said, but no completion date was given.
Property industry officials said the land had been earmarked for years for a super skyscraper and it had been known the project was moving.
The project is being developed by several companies linked to the Shanghai government including listed Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development, Shanghai Construction Group and the Shanghai Chengtou Corp - which invests in infrastructure. They have set up a company for the project with registered capital of 5.4 billion yuan.