Shanghai to start work on nation's tallest building

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 2008, 12:00am

Shanghai will start construction tomorrow on what will be China's tallest building at 632 metres, making a 14.8 billion yuan (HK$16.8 billion) bet that the global economic crisis will be just a memory when the work is completed in 2014, developers said yesterday.

The Shanghai Tower, located in the financial district, will reach more than 120 storeys, topping the city's current tallest building, the Shanghai World Financial Centre, which opened in September, and the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan.

With those two Shanghai buildings and the neighbouring Jinmao Tower, the super-high-rise trio in the Lujiazui area will be complete. The underground portion of the planned building will be finished in 2010, the year the city hosts the World Expo.

The building will have a gross floor area of 576,000 square metres for office and retail space, and a conference centre and a luxury hotel. It will also house, at 474 metres, the world's highest observation deck.

The design incorporates a twisted shape as architects say the asymmetrical construction will reduce the impact of the wind.

The project will be developed by Shanghai Tower Construction and Development, which consists of three of the city's state-owned companies.

Company general manager Gu Jianping said he was confident of the project's prospects despite the economic meltdown.

'I think there are more opportunities than challenges for us under the current situation,' he told a news conference.

'Since the prices of raw materials have decreased, it will be beneficial for us to save costs.

'I believe the economy will revive after three to five years, so it will be a very good time to put the building into operation in 2014.'

He said the Shanghai government had planned three 'landmark' high-rises in the Lujiazui area in 1993. State-owned companies were qualified to develop such big projects because of their improvements in financing, management and technology. Shanghai is hoping massive spending on infrastructure and property development will help boost its economy.

A government spokesman said the city was still studying the possibility of extending its maglev high-speed train line.

The city froze construction on the maglev extension this year following massive protests by citizens worried about the impact on health and property values. The project would extend the existing line to the World Expo site, then on to Shanghai's Hongqiao airport and possibly Hangzhou .

Sun Zhang , a professor at Tongji University and an adviser on the maglev project, said experts were studying how to reduce the noise, vibration and potential radiation. Some had suggested putting the line underground, while others said the government should simply buy the properties along the route.

In another project, a top official from Pudong district said yesterday the development zone would welcome a Disney theme park, but any decision rested with the central government.

'Shanghai and Pudong will obey the overall arrangements and decision of the state,' said Xu Lin , Pudong's Communist Party chief.