Sellar unveils Shard no. 3

The man behind the UK's tallest building has unveiled plans for a 27-storey residential tower.

by Emma Haslett
Image credit: Flickr/musical photo man
Image credit: Flickr/musical photo man

First there was the Shard, then there was the Baby Shard – now developer Irvine Sellar is planning a 27-storey residential tower just around the corner from his piece de resistance. The Baby Baby Shard? The Shardlet? The Shard Sell?

The new building, designed by Shard-chitect Renzo Piano, will capitalise on London’s hunger for All Things Residential, with 150 apartments, as well as ‘new public space’ (a bit of concrete with some benches) and a ‘new multi-level retail space’ (some shops).

What’s interesting about the design is that, according to property trade rag Property Week, the building will ‘float’ 14m above London Bridge Street.

It’s an audacious move, considering a) no one’s really sure what’s going on with the 11 apartments in the Shard itself (although there are suggestions their owner, sovereign wealth fund Qatari Diar, is renting them out) and b) office space at the Shard is proving far more difficult to get rid of than originally expected.

Although Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has signed a 30-year lease on the Baby Shard (known officially as ‘The Place’), the only definite tenants of the Shard’s 24 storeys of office space are Al Jazeera, financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps, and a company called South Hook Liquefied Natual Gas. There are rumours an IP law firm is taking up the 15th floor, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Considering the building officially opened a year ago, there hasn’t exactly been a clamour for space.

Still: residential property is different, and as any Londoner trying to buy a cupboard to call their own will know, the capital is a favourite for foreign investors looking for somewhere safe to put their money.

Although a new tax of between 18% and 28% for foreign investors selling property in the UK introduced by George Osborne in December’s Autumn Statement might scupper that. Still: that hasn’t deterred Sellar – he says he’ll submit a planning application ‘shortly’. Looks like London’s skyline will continue to rise…

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