Construction to Resume in Shanghai On World's Tallest Skyscraper

02/17/2003 |

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 McDonald
Associated Press

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