China Developer Plans $810 Million London Crystal Palace Rebuild

A Shanghai Zhongrong Property Group Co. unit plans to invest 500 million pounds ($810 million) rebuilding London’s Crystal Palace, a glass and iron commercial hub that burned down in 1936.

The Chinese company plans to reconstruct the 500-meter (1,600-foot) long former landmark and restore the surrounding 180-acre park, London Mayor Boris Johnson said at a press conference today.

“I can make Crystal Palace a jewel in the crown for the U.K. and the world,” Zhongrong Group Chairman Ni Zhaoxing said at the event.

The project, which requires local-government approvals, would add to several investments in London real estate projects by Chinese developers. ABP (China) Holdings Group Ltd. announced a 1 billion-pound business center in May. Zhongrong may submit a planning application for Crystal Palace in about a year and construction would begin in winter 2015, according to a statement today.

The original Crystal Palace was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park. It was moved to south London in 1854 to an area that later became known as Crystal Palace. The new development would include terraces and gardens, a visitor center, concert hall and a cafe. The restoration of the park will be based on the original Victorian design, according to the statement.

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