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Shard's finished but who's moving in?

Thursday, July 05, 2012 - 02:47

July 5 - Western Europe's tallest building, the Shard in London, is being inaugurated. The developers say it will be a ''vertical town'' with space for offices, restaurants, a hotel and penthouse apartments, but it's not yet clear who is going to move in. Joanna Partridge reports

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London's latest landmark. Twelve years after its conception - the Shard has been completed. It rises 310 meters above the Thames - and is now western Europe's tallest building. Just some final finishing touches before the inauguration - including cleaning the windows. Irvine Sellar is the property developer behind the skyscraper. He says the Shard will be a "vertical town" - with a viewing platform at the top. SOUNDBITE: Irvine Sellar, Chairman and Founder of Sellar Property, saying (English): "You can eat here, you can sleep here, you can work here, and... view from here. That will be some experience, you can work here from February." Renzo Piano was the architect. And when funding dried up during the financial crisis - the State of Qatar stepped in with investment. Ali Sahreef Al-Emadi is the CEO of the Qatar National Bank Group. SODUNBITE: Ali Sahreef Al-Emadi is the CEO of the Qatar National Bank Group. "Most of the people are wondering how this building of this size came to life during a really difficult time in UK market and also across the world. But from day one we had a very great belief in the UK market and especially London." For three years, Londoners have watched the Shard rise above the city skyline... ... But few people have been inside. This is the view over London that those future tenants of offices and apartments are going to look out on. It's not yet clear who will be moving in. But floors 4 -28 will be office space. Above that will be three stories of bars and restaurants. The 5-star Shangri-La Hotel will move in to floors 34-52. The ten penthouse apartments will be Europe's highest homes - and some of the most expensive, expected to cost up to 50 million pounds. Right at the top of the skyscraper is a viewing platform. Critics have said the Shard dominates the city. Others claim Sellar will have difficulty enticing his preferred tenants - such as firms and hedge funds. SOUNDBITE: Irvine Sellar, Chairman and Founder of Sellar Property, saying (English): "This is a fantastic, historic area. It went a little quiet in the sort of 60s and 70s, but something happened, with us, to bring it back to its earlier historic interest, brilliance, or whatever you might call it." The Qataris insist the Shard is a long-term investment. The hotel should be open from next year - and they predict full occupancy by the end of 2014. Their success may determine how high-rise London's future will look. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Shard's finished but who's moving in?

Thursday, July 05, 2012 - 02:47