Construction to Resume in Shanghai On World's Tallest Skyscraper

Feb. 17, 2003
A Japanese consortium said Thursday it is resuming work in Shanghai on the world's tallest skyscraper after a five-year halt in construction blamed on the Asian financial crisis.The 101-story Shanghai World Financial Center is to be 1,624 feet tall when finished in 2007, a group led by the Mori Building Co. of Tokyo announced.That would make the tower some 130 feet taller than the current record holder - the 1,483-foot-tall Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.A consortium led by Mori broke ground for the Shanghai tower in 1997 in the city's new Pudong financial district. But work halted the next year, leaving a gaping foundation pit, after the Asian crisis caused demand for office space to plunge and disrupted financing for the project.The Shanghai World Financial Center is a trophy for a city that aspires to be a business center rivaling New York and Tokyo.Building is proceeding despite unease elsewhere that tall buildings could be a terrorist target following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the two World Trade Center towers in New York.A spokesman for Mori said developers were focusing on both the building's structural strength and security measures.``We will be 100 percent ready for safety, as well as issues of terrorism security,'' said spokesman Toru Nagamori. ``We have adopted the utmost caution for the entire structure of the building.''The slender, wedge-shaped tower with a circular hole through its pinnacle was designed by the New York architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.Mori president Minoru Mori, speaking at a news conference in Shanghai, said builders had increased the tower's original projected height of 1,518 feet.A consortium of Japanese banks, insurers and other companies led by Mori plans to invest about $850 million in the project, he said.Mori noted that Universal Studios has signed a tentative deal to open a Shanghai theme park and that the city will host a World Expo in 2010, both of which he said could increase demand for office space.Shanghai already is the site of China's tallest skyscraper, the 88-story Jinmao tower, and the tallest structure in Asia, the Oriental Pearl television tower.Joe McDonaldAssociated Press

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