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Old November 4th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #21
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Double Dip Lurks Behind London's New Skyscrapers
Bloomberg
4 November 2010
Quote:
Mark Gilbert

If hemlines tell which way the stock market is headed, maybe city skylines do the same for the economy, in reverse. Tall stories often have unhappy endings.

British Land Co., the U.K.’s second-largest real-estate investment trust, has revived plans for a 47-story tower in the City of London dubbed the “Cheesegrater.” Land Securities Group Plc, its bigger rival, has found backers for its “Walkie- Talkie” building, which will be 10 floors shorter. Next to London Bridge, cranes are slapping glass panels onto the soaring frame of the “Shard of Glass,” architect Renzo Piano’s 1,000- foot (305-meter) pyramid that will dwarf the other buildings north of the River Thames to become Britain’s tallest edifice.

The history of London landmarks suggests vertical ambitions typically presage a southerly direction for the economy. From the Post Office Tower in the 1960s to the NatWest Tower in the 1980s and the Canary Wharf Tower in the 1990s, each was the tallest London building of its day, and all were harbingers of tougher times.

In mid-2004, the U.K. was enjoying its 48th consecutive quarter of gross-domestic-product growth. In the middle of London, Swiss Reinsurance Co. was moving into a 40-story edifice called the “Erotic Gherkin” for its resemblance to a swollen pickled cucumber. Four years later, the British economy contracted 0.3 percent as it started to sink into a recession, and continued to shrink for the following five quarters.

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf Tower stuck its head in the clouds in 1990 to become the U.K.’s tallest structure at 800 feet and 50 floors. The economy grew in every quarter in the second half of the 1980s except one, averaging an expansion rate of 0.9 percent. U.K. house prices increased 1.2 percent a month on average, according to an index compiled by HBOS Plc, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender. They rose 3 percent or more for much of 1988 and peaked with a gain of 4.3 percent in July of that year.

Once Canary Wharf was completed, the economy shrank in five of the next eight quarters. Average quarterly growth from 1990 to 1995 was 0.4 percent, half the performance achieved in the previous half-decade. The housing market stumbled, posting an average monthly decline of 1 percent for five years that drove many householders into “negative equity,” owing more on their mortgage than their homes were worth. Unemployment soared from 6.9 percent in early 1990 to 10.4 percent by December 1992.

NatWest Tower

Before Canary Wharf, London’s tallest building was the NatWest Tower, at 600 feet. National Westminster Bank Plc, now part of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, opened the first City skyscraper in the early 1980s. In the five preceding years, the U.K. had avoided a recession, measured as two consecutive quarters of contraction, and had posted an average growth rate of 0.5 percent for the period.

The NatWest Tower’s opening coincided with a slump. The economy contracted for five consecutive quarters from the beginning of 1980. Its average growth rate in the first five years of the 1980s was just 0.4 percent. Unemployment, which averaged 5.25 percent in the second half of the 1970s, shot up to 8 percent by the end of 1980, reached 10 percent the following year and peaked at 11.9 percent in 1984.

The building is now named Tower 42. If you look west from the top floor’s aptly named Vertigo bar, you can see the Post Office Tower, the previous record holder.

Post Office Tower

At 580 feet, excluding a 40-feet aerial, the Post Office Tower started beaming radio and television signals in 1964. Three years later, the government was forced to devalue the pound to $2.40 from $2.80. The economy’s average quarterly growth rate from 1960 to 1965 was 0.8 percent; it dropped to 0.5 percent in the two years following the Post Office Tower’s opening, and was 0.7 percent in the five years through 1970.

Now, some economists are concerned government spending cuts will push the U.K. back into a recession. Last week, Land Securities opened the City’s biggest mall, with 220,000 square feet of retail space fighting for customers -- just eight days after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne detailed more than 80 billion pounds ($128 billion) of spending cuts and 490,000 public-sector job losses.

London isn’t alone. The Great Depression was the backdrop to both New York’s Chrysler Building -- completed in 1930 after real-estate developer William Reynolds ran out of funds and sold the uncompleted building to industrialist Walter Chrysler -- and the Empire State building, completed in 1931.

In Dubai, the $1.5 billion Burj Khalifa building now holds the title of the world’s tallest; its name was changed from Burj Dubai when it opened in January in honor of Abu Dhabi leader Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This was a month after Dubai needed a $10 billion lifeline to avoid default.

Real-estate developers might want to consider the lessons of history before letting their lofty ambitions get the better of their reduced circumstances.

(Mark Gilbert, author of “Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable,” is the London bureau chief and a columnist for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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Old November 4th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #22
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Deary me. How often do journalists want to dig out the " A tall building was built just before the fall" story.

Funny how there is no mention of the massive growth at CW with both HSBC & Citicorp built between 99 & 2002. Oh yes because it ruins the narrative of the lazy story.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #23
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Deary me. How often do journalists want to dig out the " A tall building was built just before the fall" story.

Funny how there is no mention of the massive growth at CW with both HSBC & Citicorp built between 99 & 2002. Oh yes because it ruins the narrative of the lazy story.
Exactly. There's also no rationality or reason explained into why the world tallest buildings get built just before/after economic free-falls. Like with 40 WS, Chrysler and ESB in the 1930s skyscraper projects require an extended period of prosperity and market confidence to encourage developer risk and entice investors (and of course market confidence is always at its highest just before a fall), then a substantial construction period. Thus in the boom and bust cycles of capitalism a substantial number of them inevitably are going to be completed in a recession.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 12:38 PM   #24
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Surely as long as we keep building ever taller buildings on a regular basis there will always be a worlds tallest completed just before a recession?

How many times has the height record been beaten during boomtimes? I dont think Petronas or Teipei 101 coincided with a slump.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #25
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Surely as long as we keep building ever taller buildings on a regular basis there will always be a worlds tallest completed just before a recession?

How many times has the height record been beaten during boomtimes? I dont think Petronas or Teipei 101 coincided with a slump.
Petronas reached completion one year after the 1997 asian economic crisis.

Taipei 101 started just after.

Anyway these new towers still mark the crisis, they are still are a product of the last boom but as they represent so much money in planning and land purchase. They are just shuddering back into life as the we come out of recession.

The main difference this time compared to the 1990's crash is that commercial property was not particularly overbuilt, especially in the City. So instead of waiting four or five years for space to be filled there is not much that left empty. Docklands on the other hand! If it was not for its ability to accommodate really large new buildings I see no need for any new construction for 4 years. Unless the city re-inflates to its old size really quickly. I suggest that Canary Wharf try and get some West End occupiers, except that Victoria may be on the hunt for some of those with some expected consolidation of government departments. Victoria has done better in attracting West End tenants in the past, particularly oil and media.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #26
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Surely as long as we keep building ever taller buildings on a regular basis there will always be a worlds tallest completed just before a recession?

How many times has the height record been beaten during boomtimes? I dont think Petronas or Teipei 101 coincided with a slump.
You obviously weren't checking the Asian markets in the late 90s then (but i get your point)
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Old November 5th, 2010, 06:01 PM   #27
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Unless the city re-inflates to its old size really quickly. I suggest that Canary Wharf try and get some West End occupiers, except that Victoria may be on the hunt for some of those with some expected consolidation of government departments. Victoria has done better in attracting West End tenants in the past, particularly oil and media.
Until Crossrail is completed, however much they try CWG are fighting a location that is less desirable and accessible than the City and Central West. Other than the obvious development restrictions Victoria is particularly attractive, as for where it is it's relatively cheap still.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 09:59 PM   #28
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King Street revamp cannot go ahead without tower blocks, says report

-- Link to Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle article --

Contentious plans to build two 14-storey tower blocks in Hammersmith cannot be scaled down without putting a town centre regeneration project at risk, a report claimed this week. Consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers issued the advice after being commissioned Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which hopes to convince critics to get behind its King Street scheme.

A planning application was submitted at the end of last week from King Street Developments, which won a council-run competition to redesign the area around Hammersmith Town Hall.

It wants to knock down the town hall extension and create a new public square in its place, flanked by new buildings containing new council offices shops and cafés, a supermarket and around 320 luxury flats. The Cineworld cinema would also be pulled down along with a row of terraced homes and a Quaker meeting house, and a new pedestrian footbridge would be created over the A4, linking King Street to Furnivall Gardens and the Thames.

Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh has written to resident groups urging them to get behind the plans and setting out the reasons why the town hall extension must be replaced.

He said: "If the scheme does progress, the council will not be spending one penny on the development. However, if the scheme does not go ahead there will be costs. This is because the town hall extension has come to the end of its life and needs to either be demolished or extensively refurbished. If the project does not go ahead taxpayers will need to spend around £18m to move council staff temporarily while the extension is brought up to standard."

The report by Price Waterhouse Coopers said the developer is using a 'reasonable approach' with projected returns which appear 'lower than those that we would typically expect for a project of this type'. It said: "Any reduction in the enabling elements of the scheme would worsen project viability and could potentially make it undeliverable."

Hundreds of residents who have come together to oppose the scheme under the Save Our Skyline (SOS) banner are this week waiting to pore over the planning documents once they are released to the public. Another SOS meeting will be called in early December encouraging people to send their written objections to the council, which will now have to launch a public consultation and act as an independent planning authority despite having commissioned the project.

Chairman John Jones said the group remains concerned about the size of the towers, the lack of any affordable housing, the nature of the footbridge, the loss of the cinema and the impact of a new supermarket on surrounding businesses and congestion, and estimates the land being handed over by the council is worth around £50m.

He said: "All the council is getting out of this is some more office accommodation that it doesn't need, which is not a very happy bargain for the rate payers of Hammersmith. The town hall extension needs refurbishing, but there's nothing wrong with it structurally. If they need more space they can extend it downwards into the void space below."

David Walters, of King Street Developments, said the development would ensure that Hammersmith Town Hall 'remains at the heart of the borough's civic life'. He said: "We are aware that there are people who have concerns about certain aspects of the plans, but we believe that this is the only way of unlocking this site to deliver a scheme which can benefit local residents and business for decades to come."
~~

Controversial King Street scheme goes in for planning

-- Link to www.building.co.uk article --




Helical Bar and Grainger have submitted a planning application for the extension of Hammersmith Town Hall and the development of 320 homes, shops, cafes and restaurants.

The controversial scheme, designed by Sheppard Robson Architects, will involve the demolition of the existing 1960s town hall extension on King Street and will see a pedestrian footbridge created across the A4, linking the development with the river Thames.

David Walters, of Helical and Grainger’s joint venture King Street Developments, said: “The regeneration will also ensure that Hammersmith Town Hall remains at the heart of the Borough’s civic life. We are aware that there are people who have concerns about certain aspects of the plans, but we believe that this is the only way of unlocking this site to deliver a scheme which can benefit local residents and business for decades to come, securing the future of King Street.”

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham will now hold its own statutory consultation exercise on the planning application before it is considered by the Council’s planning committee in 2011. The scheme has met with local opposition because of the inclusion of a 14-storey tower in the plans.
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Old November 6th, 2010, 12:47 AM   #29
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"Hundreds of residents who have come together to oppose the scheme under the Save Our Skyline (SOS) banner"

tax them!
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Old November 6th, 2010, 02:20 AM   #30
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"The scheme has met with local opposition because of the inclusion of a 14-storey tower in the plans."
14 storeys - oh my god, that's sooooooo tall and dominating!
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Old November 10th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #31
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Hampstead fury over £100m 'LA palace' for billionaire
Will Hurst
09.11.10

A Kuwaiti billionaire's plan to build a £100 million home overlooking Hampstead Heath has caused outrage among residents.

The scheme by Robert Adam, one of Prince Charles's favourite architects, to build a 50,000 sq ft neo-classical house for Naseer Al-Kharafi has been described as a "cross between a Stalinist palace and a Victorian lunatic asylum".



Objectors include Terry Jones, the former Monty Python star, Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, actor Tim Pigott-Smith and Wesley Kerr, the former BBC journalist who now heads the Heritage Lottery Fund's London committee.

Kerr said the design was "more in keeping with Monaco or LA". Opponents are upset at the proposal to demolish the existing Victorian mansion on the site, Athlone House, and will make their case at a planning inquiry due next year following Camden council's rejection of the plans in April.



Jones, who lives a stone's throw from the heath, accused his new neighbour and his architect of ignoring an earlier planning agreement to restore the original house dating from 1871. "I don't think they should get away with it," he said.

"The new house is the same thing but bigger and therefore not at all the same thing. My point is that if they agreed to certain conditions then they shouldn't be allowed to change them."

Hobsbawm, 93, claimed the building represents a threat to the character of Hampstead Heath. In a letter to the local authority, he said he was objecting on "behalf of all Londoners and foreign tourists for whom" the heath is an "invaluable, source of pleasure and enjoyment".

Pigott-Smith said the plan was the latest in a string of schemes from super-rich newcomers from abroad. "There is massive money coming in," he said. Adam told Building Design magazine he was stunned by the "unbelievable passions" his design had aroused. "People may or may not like the design but this is an example of things getting completely out of perspective," he said.

Married with five children, Mr Kharafi has a reported net worth of $14 billion. Head of a huge conglomerate, he is the 48th richest man in the world. Last year he was said to be involved in a bid to buy Liverpool Football Club.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 12:54 PM   #32
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Make wins planning for controversial Brompton Diamond
10 November 2010
By Ruth Bloomfield

Make Architects has won permission for a contemporary London building inspired by the facets of a diamond on condition that founder Ken Shuttleworth personally oversees the project.

The unusual condition emerged last week as the controversial scheme on the Brompton Road near Harrods was granted planning approval for the second time.



The building, nicknamed the Brompton Diamond, was first approved by Kensington & Chelsea Council back in May. A revised, and slightly larger, project was submitted last month.

The council’s planning committee approved the redrawn scheme, which now has nine storeys rather than eight. A council spokesman explained that Shuttleworth’s involvement was written into the Section 106 agreement “to maintain the quality of the design”.

The building has been reconfigured with evidence of a (slight) austerity drive. Future residents will have to do without one of their planned swimming pools and there will only be one car lift not two. Instead, the retail element has been enlarged, and the 12 flats will also be bigger.

Shuttleworth has described the building as a “mansion block for the 21st century”, while council officers lauded the “visually distinctive and playful building in the form of a cut gemstone in its setting”.

The council’s Architectural Appraisal Panel has raised concerns that “the scheme’s asymmetry, free form and lack of scaled elements seemed an overbearing statement in its context”. But it conceded “there was a strong concept underpinning the iconoclastic expression”.

English Heritage said the proposals were “wholly inappropriate” and the Ancient Monuments Society deemed it shocking, “individual, bordering on perverse”, but concluded that at least it could not be accused of being humdrum
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:07 PM   #33
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Hampstead fury over £100m 'LA palace' for billionaire
Will Hurst
09.11.10

A Kuwaiti billionaire's plan to build a £100 million home overlooking Hampstead Heath has caused outrage among residents.

The scheme by Robert Adam, one of Prince Charles's favourite architects, to build a 50,000 sq ft neo-classical house for Naseer Al-Kharafi has been described as a "cross between a Stalinist palace and a Victorian lunatic asylum".



Objectors include Terry Jones, the former Monty Python star, Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, actor Tim Pigott-Smith and Wesley Kerr, the former BBC journalist who now heads the Heritage Lottery Fund's London committee.

Kerr said the design was "more in keeping with Monaco or LA". Opponents are upset at the proposal to demolish the existing Victorian mansion on the site, Athlone House, and will make their case at a planning inquiry due next year following Camden council's rejection of the plans in April.



Jones, who lives a stone's throw from the heath, accused his new neighbour and his architect of ignoring an earlier planning agreement to restore the original house dating from 1871. "I don't think they should get away with it," he said.

"The new house is the same thing but bigger and therefore not at all the same thing. My point is that if they agreed to certain conditions then they shouldn't be allowed to change them."

Hobsbawm, 93, claimed the building represents a threat to the character of Hampstead Heath. In a letter to the local authority, he said he was objecting on "behalf of all Londoners and foreign tourists for whom" the heath is an "invaluable, source of pleasure and enjoyment".

Pigott-Smith said the plan was the latest in a string of schemes from super-rich newcomers from abroad. "There is massive money coming in," he said. Adam told Building Design magazine he was stunned by the "unbelievable passions" his design had aroused. "People may or may not like the design but this is an example of things getting completely out of perspective," he said.

Married with five children, Mr Kharafi has a reported net worth of $14 billion. Head of a huge conglomerate, he is the 48th richest man in the world. Last year he was said to be involved in a bid to buy Liverpool Football Club.
They're both nice houses. It's a shame they can't leave the old house in situ, and find some modernist lump of concrete somewhere which they can demolish to make way for the new design.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #34
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They're both nice houses. It's a shame they can't leave the old house in situ, and find some modernist lump of concrete somewhere which they can demolish to make way for the new design.
Oh yes, I'm sure Mr Kharafi would be just as happy to shell out £100 million for a neo-classical pad in Elephant & Castle...

Great news about the Brompton Diamond, btw!
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Old November 10th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #35
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If they are up in arms by a Robert Adam design imagine if it had been someone like Will Alsop. He would have probably designed a giant purple mushroom or something.

I prefer the old building but the new one is fine. Its just a shame to lose history, it takes years for these types of buildings to gain gravitas.

Is this a sign that the very wealthy are starting to look at more classically inspired designs now?
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Old November 10th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #36
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.

Is this a sign that the very wealthy are starting to look at more classically inspired designs now?
Lol its a sign that the super rich have no taste. These Disney palaces sprout up all over the world where people have a spare 50-100 millions swirling around the back pocket. Its a Footballers mansion on a larger scale.

I'm loving the hypocrisy from Adams. Fine to take a pop at others but when its his contentious design he wonders what all the hysterical fuss is all about.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #37
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That old misery Simon Jenkins had ago at this in October. If you can bear it here are his comments where he focuses on, yep, you guessed it the tower.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...the-horizon.do

I think the old Victorian mansion is mediocre for its creed at best. I don't love the proposal, not my taste, but I see no argument against it. London has been doing these fanstasical, pastiche mansions for hundreds of years. Take Leighton House as an example which is great fun to look around. leighton house
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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #38
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Oh yes, I'm sure Mr Kharafi would be just as happy to shell out £100 million for a neo-classical pad in Elephant & Castle.
Surely there's some modernist concrete shite somewhere in Hampstead that he could demolish?
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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:49 PM   #39
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Yes, this monstrosity by Goldfinger. Sited on 2 Willow Road Hampstead.

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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #40
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Yes, this monstrosity by Goldfinger. Sited on 2 Willow Road Hampstead.
Grade 2 listed and managed by the National Trust.

NEXT.
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