What will be the tallest building on the Indian sub continent is looking like starting construction any day now in the Pakistani city of Lahore. The Sheik Zayed Complex and designed by architects, Turner International, saw groundwork begin yesterday to prepare the site for construction.
The main tower of the scheme will be about 60 storeys high and around 250 metres tall, surrounded by four shorter buildings creating a brand new business district that the Pakistani government hopes will help drive regeneration and modernisation of the area.
As well as offices the complex includes parking for 3,000 vehicles and a brand new 5 star hotel plus a shopping mall and Cineplex. There will also be a banquet hall capable of hosting a whopping 5,000 diners, ideal for large weddings and product launches alike. In addition to the main tower three of the shorter buildings will be apartments of between 20 and 25 floors each, managed by Hyatt Residency.
The scheme has been backed by the middle eastern consortium, the Dhabi Group who are owned by the projects name-sake and are the largest single foreign investor in Pakistan with interests ranging from banking to telecoms. They will control 70% of the project with the other 30% owned by the Government of Punjab. The total budget for the scheme will top $450 million making it them most expensive new buildings in Pakistan too.
The partners in the project are now discussing the actual dates for completion of the scheme before progressing but it's understood that it should be complete around 2010 following what appears to be an agreement between the two partners on the precise terms with which to realise the project.
In setting new standards of scale on the subcontinent and the attached prestige that goes with such a project, the question everyone is asking is, what will the rival India do in response? Can we expect the two countries to slug it out in skyscrapers like they do cricket?