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New Renzo Piano building set to rise in London

on Tuesday,March 31,2009 21:03

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Construction work has just begun on London''s 1,000 feet (310m) Shard of Glass, which will be Western Europe''s tallest building.

Designed by Renzo Piano and scheduled for completion in 2012 in the London Bridge quarter near the Thames River, the Shard will be 200 feet taller than the 800 feet Canary Wharf Tower, according to Devono.com.

It will include Europe''s first Shangri-La hotel, five-star restaurants, public viewing gallery, offices, shops and the highest residential property in the UK.

Despite the weak real estate market, Shard''s managing director Bernard Ainsworth remains optimistic about filling out the office space.

"This will be a landmark building and we''ve already let out 40 percent of it," he was quoted as saying by Devono.com.

One of the confirmed tenants will be Transport for London, the city''s transportation authority.

The project goes ahead despite past financial problems due to the onset of the recession and the credit crunch. In 2007, its European developers - including Credit Suisse - withdrew, but funding was subsequently provided by four Qatari banks.
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