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Planned skyscraper to dwarf Pudong giants
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A project to build the tallest building in Shanghai is likely to break ground within the year and be topped off in 2010, dwarfing both the 492-meter-tall Shanghai World Financial Center and the 421-meter-tall Jin Mao Tower.

The project has been endorsed by the city reform and development commission, according to a recent posting at the municipal government Website.

A project company with a registered capital of 5.4 billion yuan (US$752 million) was approved by the city industrial and commercial administration at the end of last year, an insider said.

Documents from the administration showed the company is 45 percent owned by the Shanghai Chengtou Corp, a municipal government-backed conglomerate investing in city-infrastructure construction; 51 percent owned by the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co Ltd; and four percent owned by the Shanghai Construction Group, one of the country's largest construction contractors.

The skyscraper will be constructed on a 20,300-square-meter plot of land known as Z3-2, which has been used as a golf practice course for the past decade.

The new skyscraper will stand to the south of Jin Mao Tower and to the west of Shanghai World Financial Center.

According to local media reports, the project company has yet to decide on the building's design. Only one thing is for sure: It will be higher than its two neighbors.

Two international architecture firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, have reportedly submitted designs for the project in a bidding process organized by the city government.

On SOM's Website, the project is named Shanghai Center. It says the tower will have a height of 580 meters - 88 meters higher than the Shanghai World Financial Center.

SOM's design was highly publicized by local media after the firm posted an artist's impression on its Website, but the insider said it had failed the preliminary selection process.

The project is still listed on SOM's Website, but the plans could no longer be found there yesterday.

Back in 2005, Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Co put the land up for public bidding. Property giants including Hutchison Whampoa and Sun Hung Kai Properties were invited to build an office building, hotel or shopping facility on the plot. Months later, bidding was suddenly called off as Lujiazui announced that the government had adjusted its plans and would now reserve the land for other uses.

(Shanghai Daily February 18, 2008)

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