LONDON, June 6 A Qatari-backed plan to redevelop
a central London site next to the River Thames has been given
the go-ahead by the British government, ending months of
uncertainty about the project after it was subjected to a
The start of building had been delayed after the government
intervened to consider how the project would affect views of the
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben - a UNESCO world heritage site
on the opposite side of the Thames.
Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Qatari Diar and
Canary Wharf Group which will fund the development, said
building would now start later this summer, having earlier been
scheduled to start in late 2013.
Under the plan, eight new buildings will be constructed in
the area around the 1960s British headquarters of oil company
Shell, near to the landmark London Eye wheel on the
south bank of the Thames, creating a 1.45 million sq ft complex
with shops and offices and 877 homes.
Shell will stay in its current 27-storey building and also
take more space in one of the new buildings, with construction
to place over the next six years.
Canary Wharf Group is majority owned by Songbird Estates
, while Qatari Diar is the real estate arm of Qatar's
sovereign wealth fund.
Qatar has built a significant presence in London's real
estate market in recent years. The Shard, Western Europe's
tallest skyscraper at about 310 metres (1,016 feet), was funded
by Qatar's royal family and opened in 2012.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)