Sky City site still a “watermelon patch”

The site of Sky City, meant to be the tallest building in the world – and also the fastest, with its Chinese developer claiming it would go up in a matter of months – is covered with "weeds and watermelons", Chinese media report.

A year ago China’s Broad Group held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of the 838-metre residential tower, called Sky City. 

Broad Group’s chairman, the air-conditioning magnate Zhang Yue, promised it would be topped out in just eight months thanks to Broad’s steel prefabrication technique that enabled it to erect a 30-storey hotel in just 15 days.

This would have been a remarkable feat, considering that the world’s tallest building now, Dubai’s 828-metre Burj Khalifa, took five years to build.

But the project was quickly shrouded in confusion as conflicting reports emerged about whether Sky City had the necessary approvals.

Now, Shanghai’s National Business Daily has reported that 20% to 30% of the 100-acre construction site in the industrial city of Changsha, Hunan province, is covered with water, while the remainder is planted with watermelon and corn. The story was picked up and translated by English-language Taiwanese news website, Want China Times.

According to the report, Yu Haoyu, director of "a local communal administrative committee", said that the project is "mired in red tape". 

Su Kai, another official on the committee, said Broad Group has so far obtained only the land certificate and permit for construction-land planning for the project, with "many other permits still pending".

Observers are watching the project keenly not just because of the tower’s height. Zhang Yue, one of China’s richest people, hopes to export Broad Group’s steel fabrication technique to meet housing demand in China and all over the world. 

In a 2012 interview with International Construction Review, GCR’s predecessor, Zhang said Broad now has franchises in six Chinese provinces, and plans to have one in every Chinese province.

"Ultimately," he said, "I hope we will be able to supply 30% of the global construction market."

(See article here.)

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