Work was due to start this week on The Shard of Glass at London Bridge Quarter, which will be western Europe’s tallest building. At a time when London’s commercial estate agents are strugging with falling rents, a group of Qatari banks has maintained backing for a project that will stand three times higher than St Paul’s Cathedral.
Designed by Renzo Piano and scheduled for completion in 2012, when the capital’s property market should be back to full health, the Shard (see image right, from the project website) will soar around 200ft above the 800ft Canary Wharf Tower, which was finished during the last recession in 1991.
However, whereas One Canada Square filled only some of its offices in the 90s, the Shard’s managing director is more hopeful for London’s commercial property sector. ‘This will be a landmark building and we’ve already let out 40 per cent of it,’ said Bernard Ainsworth.
Funding by four Qatari banks came after European developers – including Credit Suisse – backed out in 2007.