The Shard: A Monument to Remember Irvine Sellar

irvine-sellar Irvine Sellar, via the-shard.com

Irvine Sellar, one of London’s most notable developers, died on Sunday after a short illness at the age of 82. Raised by a glove shopkeeper in the East End of London before dropping out of school and going on to found fashion and real estate companies including Sellar Property Group. The group was involved in several projects: the 600,000sqft News Building in London Bridge Quarter designed by Renzo Piano;  One Swan Lane in the City of London; Holiday Inns in Elstree and Bolton; the 265,000 mixed-use Pompey Centre in Portsmouth; and the 20,000sqft Market Chambers in Cardiff’s City Centre. As recently as December 2016, planning to develop the 18-story Paddington Cube building was approved by Westminster City Council – although this has been called in by the Secretary of State over the past week.

the-shard-in-black-and-whiteThe Shard, in Black and White

He will always be best known as the developer of the Shard. Standing at 1,016ft, it is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the tallest occupied building in Western Europe. The 1.27m sq ft tower was conceived as a “vertical city” providing: 600,000sqft of Grade A Office space over levels 4-28; three restaurants and two bars over levels 31-33; the Shangri-La Hotel on floors 34-52 with over 200 keys; 14 residential units over floors 53 – 65; and a public viewing gallery over levels 68-72. Key tenants include the likes of the Aqua Restaurant Group, Tiffany & Co, Al-Jazeera Media Network, Matches Fashion, HCA International and the Kraft Heinz Company. It was designed by Italian Architect Renzo Piano, who also worked with Sellar on the Paddington Cube and the News Building.

tower-bridge-the-shard The Shard and London Bridge

In total, it took 14 years to build. Sellar bought Southward Towers in 1998 before flying to Berlin in 2000 to meet Renzo Piano, where he persuaded him to work on the project. The planning application was first filed in March 2001, with permission finally approved in November 2003 following an inquiry by the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott. £196m of funding was secured in September 2006, and preparations for demolition began the following year. The financial crisis threatened to derail the project, but demolition finally began in April 2008, three months after funding had been secured from a Qatari consortium who paid £150m for an 80% stake in the project. Demolition completed in early 2009, and the topping out of the steel structure occured in March 2012. In June 2012, the shard was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, with Prince Andrew in attendance. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012 and the View from the Shard was opened to the public on 1st February 2013. Four years on, it stands as a monument to the legacy of Irvine Sellar.

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