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Renzo Piano's Shard to be built despite market meltdown

The Shard will begin on site next year despite the economic downtown, developer Sellar Property Group has said.

Chief executive Jame Sellar said building the Renzo Piano-designed 306-metre tower, part of his firm's London Bridge Quarter mixed use development on the Thames south bank, would provide a vital boost to the UK's flagging property market.

'The Shard has been designed to become a landmark building in Europe. The project represents our resolute confidence not only in the real estate market but also in the wider United Kingdom economy,' he said. 'We believe that the extraordinary combination of services that London Bridge Quarter offers along with its beautiful aesthetics are the keys to its long-term success.'

On completion the Shard will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe rising over 72 floors, with a 12-storey spire.

With on site demolition works due for completion by the end of the year and piling due to begin in 2009, the Shard is scheduled for completion in Spring 2012, in time for the London Olympics.

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