Singaporean Billionaire to Downsize Tower

Ong Beng Seng's Proposed London Tower

A contentious 72-storey skyscraper in London nicknamed the «Paddington Pole» and designed by the architect of «The Shard», Renzo Piano, may have to be slashed.

A Singaporean joint venture controlled by hotel billionaire Ong Beng Seng paid 111 million pounds for the 4,452 square meters site last year. However, plans for the original tower were withdrawn in late January after Westminster City Council members forced leader Robert Davis to pull his support because of its height.

Last week architect Renzo Piano produced fresh sketches which show the reworked £1bn tower shrinking from 254 meters to 125 meters, but thickening by nearly 50 percent as the 511 square meters floor plates expand to 1,115 square meters in order to maintain financial viability.

For and Against the Development

The move comes after a surge of anti-tower sentiment following a critical article by ex-National Trust chairman and columnist Sir Simon Jenkins and the Skyline Campaign by architect Barbara Weiss, which claims that plans for 260 towers in the capital means London is at a «watershed moment».

Further opposition has come from Sir Terry Farrell, the former architect for the Paddington site.

Development Proposals

The proposed scheme will provide 60 million pounds towards the cost of a three-level gateway to Paddington Station and create around 5,000 square meters of new concourses.

The current plans have the backing of Network Rail, which said the proposals were «a real opportunity to create an enhanced entrance».

A poll of more than 8,000 locals and commuters showed more than 70 percent in favour of the slender tower, while St Mary’s Hospital, adjacent to the station, also backed the existing plans despite the councillors’ opposition.

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