A recent report from Barclays Capital highlights what it describes as an “unhealthy correlation” between the building of skyscrapers and looming economic disaster. The examples cited to support the correlation include the Empire State Building, the construction of which coincided with the Great Depression, and the world’s current tallest building the Burj Khalifa which was built as Dubai fell into recession.
In a statement that appears to support this theory JP Morgan recently warned investors that the Chinese commercial property market could fall in value by up to 20% over the next 12 to 18 months. Barclays say that the reasoning for the correlation is simple: “Often the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction,” an analyst explains.
London will be hoping that this correlation does not extend to the Shard which has already become a recognisable feature of the skyline as it nears completion. Designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano, the Shard will overtake Canary Wharf and Heron Tower as the tallest building in the city when it opens later this year. Standing at over 1,000 feet, the skyscraper has a total floor space of almost 900,000 square feet, including 595,000 square feet of flexible office space. It is situated in the busy Tower Bridge quarter which is already home to a number of serviced office developments.
The triangular structure is clad entirely in glass, designed to reflect light and the changing skies. Indeed Renzo Piano has described the building as a “symbol of lightness” and predicts it will become one of the capital’s most popular landmarks. He says: “The reason this building will be loved -and I am ready to bet it will be loved- is because it will be accessible, because it is transparent, understandable and not mysterious. It is a public building.”
The £430 million tower offers a range of world class serviced offices spread over 25 floors. The developers promise that the Shard will set a new standard for London commercial office space. The services provided include meeting rooms, a concierge service and dedicated estate management. The Shard also offers naturally ventilated gardens, self-regulating temperature control and stunning views over the capital taking in Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Park.
Along with serviced offices the Shard has a lot more to offer. It also includes exclusive apartments, the 200 room Shangri-La hotel and 3 floors of renowned restaurants encased in a glass atrium. Another feature of the Shard that is expected to attract large numbers of visitors is the Observatory. This is a public viewing gallery, served by high speed lifts, offering views stretching 40 miles across the city.
The developers have now begun marketing the serviced offices and are hoping for a business to take a large amount of floor space to get the process underway. Several international banks are believed to be interested. The appointed agent is Jones Lang LaSalle. The Shard is expected to open in May of this year.