It’s a massive Arab investment towering above the British capital. At 310 meters high, the Shard is Western Europe’s tallest sky scraper and its 95 percent owned by the Gulf state of Qatar.
At a cost of around one and half billion pounds, the Shard is a vertical city with offices, luxury apartments, restaurants, a 5-star hotel and a viewing gallery with 360 degree views over London.
Its Qatari owners say they’re not worried about re-couping their investment because they’re taking the long view and committed to London’s real estate market, where they already own retailer Harrods and many other properties.
The unveiling of the Shard comes at time of increasing demand for high end properties from overseas buyers, with new research from Savills showing that foreign investors bought 59 percent of London’s prime properties and 78 percent of new-built projects.
The Shard’s developer says it will create more than 12,000 jobs for the local community, but some conservation groups are opposed to the project, saying it obstructs the view of London landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Al Arabiya reports from the 14th floor of the Shard, a building that stand 95 stories tall. The inauguration this week marks the completion of the physical exterior of the building, and as for the interior of the building, that will be opened later this year.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Ben Jassim Al Thani, along with with Prince Andrew the Duke of York, officially inaugurated the Shard, while the British capital gave its newest and tallest resident a fitting welcome with a laser show across the London skyline.