Firm to get skyscraper project off the ground

Updated: 2011-09-06 10:30

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Developers working on a new skyscraper, which once built will be the capital's tallest building, say they will break ground on the project on Sept 19.

Firm to get skyscraper project off the ground

An artist's impression of Zhongguo Zun in the CBD. The building, which will house offices of CITIC Group, will be the tallest in Beijing when it is finished, standing 510 meters. [Photo/China Daily] 

CITIC Group, which won the rights to the land in the Central Business District with a bid of 3.6 billion yuan ($563 million) last December, plans to build a 510-meter-high office tower with 104 floors above ground and four basement levels.

"The final design hasn't been decided yet, as the group is waiting for the municipal government's approval, but the building will be higher than 500 meters," an insider at CITIC Real Estate who refused to be named said on Monday.

The new skyscraper is called Zhongguo Zun, which means China Goblet, as the inspiration for the design came from an ancient ritual vessel. Construction will be completed in five to seven years, the insider said.

The land where the building will stand is in the north of the CBD, which houses many international companies. The capital's tallest building now is Tower 3 of China World Trade Center, which is 330 meters tall and is also in the CBD.

"It is going to become a new landmark for the city," said an official in charge of the CBD who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The skyscraper is expected to serve as an office building for CITIC Group. "The company will occupy the whole building, and even then the space will not be enough," added the CBD official. "Also, the company can't rent any of that office space for 10 years, as stipulated in the contract it signed with the municipal government."

Wu Chengtao, editor of Skyscraper Magazine, said: "The building, to some degree, demonstrates the city's image and economic strength, and will attract more investment. Besides, the competition among cities, both at home and abroad, has become more and more fierce, triggering many cities to pursue more super high-rise buildings."

He said at least three skyscrapers above 600 meters were under construction in Shanghai, Wuhan and Shenzhen. The number of buildings higher than 500 meters is much larger, "and I can't remember them all", he added.

"Considering its economic strength and influence as the Chinese capital, Beijing could build one higher than 700 meters," said Wu. "However, the tallest building will be about 510 meters, which shows the city is pursuing stable development."

Firm to get skyscraper project off the ground

The design of the new skyscraper adopts many elements from traditional culture, such as the Kongming (Floating Paper) Lamp. "The building will remind people of the ancient Chinese city, representing Beijing's image perfectly," said Wu.

However, the high-rise will bring about some problems, experts say.

"Having a large amount of people concentrated in a limited place will put huge pressure on transport and the environment," said Yan Jinming, a professor of land management at Remin University of China. "Plus, the requirements for foundations, equipment to prevent disasters and fires are more strict, thus the cost is much higher."

Wu agreed and said that since the CITIC Group is involved in broad business, lots of related enterprises will move closer for convenience, causing a hike in rental prices.

"However, as more jobs will be created, on a whole, the advantages brought by the new skyscraper will outweigh the disadvantages," he added.

Hu Yuanyuan contributed to this story.