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Jin Jiang Plans World’s Highest Hotel in Shanghai

Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Group Co. plans to build the world’s highest hotel in the Chinese city that will displace the neighboring Park Hyatt and the Ritz-Carlton that will open in Hong Kong in March.

The venture with Shanghai Tower Development Co. will develop the 258-room Shanghai Tower J-Hotel, which will occupy the 84th to the 110th floors of the 121-story building, said a Jin Jiang filing to the Hong Kong exchange yesterday. The 632-meter Shanghai Tower in the Pudong business hub is set to be the world’s second-tallest building when it’s completed in 2014.

Jin Jiang, which runs the 81-year-old Peace Hotel in Shanghai, is joining developers that have accelerated the building of landmark skyscrapers in the country. The Shanghai World Financial Center that was completed two years ago is now China’s tallest building, while the Shanghai Greenland Group Co. began constructing the world’s third-highest tower in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

“Being the tallest sticks in people’s minds,” said Nicholas Mak, executive director and head of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants Pte in Singapore. “There are many people who can claim they’re the most luxurious, but that’s a bit subjective. It’s technically challenging to build the tallest and this gives bragging rights to the owners.”

Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt at the Shanghai World Financial Center is the world’s highest hotel, occupying the 79th to 93rd floors of the 492-meter building by Mori Building Co. The 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which will remain the world’s tallest skyscraper even after Shanghai Tower’s completion, includes fashion icon Giorgio Armani’s first hotel on lower floors.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong will occupy the 102th to 118th floors of the 490-meter International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, a height that will allow it to take the top spot from the Park Hyatt in Shanghai.

Jin Jiang’s hotel will overtake the Ritz-Carlton because the Shanghai hotel’s 110th floor will be at about 574.5 meters, higher than the Hong Kong building where the Ritz-Carlton is located.

The hotel is being built to exceed Forbes (Mobil)’s Five-Star and AAA’s Five-Diamond standards, according to the Jin Jiang statement. The property will help the Shanghai-based hotel operator build its J-hotel brand, it said. It plans to develop 10 to 12 landmark properties in key cities “to capture first-mover advantage in China high-end hotel market,” it said.

‘Short-Lived Coverage’

“Having the highest hotel in the world obviously will draw significant, if somewhat short-lived, PR coverage,” said James Macdonald, head of China research at London-based property broker Savills Plc in Shanghai. In China, “we are going through a period when developers are developing the tallest buildings in the world and given that developers will typically place hotels at the top of any large-scale, mixed-use, high-rise building, this means that we are getting the tallest hotels in the world,” he said.

Jin Jiang, which owns or runs more than 460 hotels, opened the Peace Hotel in July after three years of restoration. The property that once accommodated Charlie Chaplin and other celebrities was renamed Fairmont Peace Hotel, managed by Jin Jiang and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., which runs the Savoy hotel in London.

Shares Fall

Jin Jiang’s shares have fallen 13 percent this year, compared with the 48 percent gain in the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Lodging Index. The stock was unchanged at HK$1.96 at the 4 p.m. close in Hong Kong, paring a loss of as much as 2 percent.

Shanghai has spruced up its infrastructure to host the $44 billion World Expo this year, which drew a record number of visitors during the six-month event. The city built two airport terminals and undertook a three-year renovation of The Bund, the city’s colonial-era waterfront boulevard, lined with historic buildings including the Peace Hotel.

China’s richest city also accelerated its expansion of the subway system to more than 400 kilometers (248 miles) to cater to the influx of visitors, making it the biggest city transport underground network in the country.

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