No Takers for Tallest Towers
The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, with over half of its offices lying empty.
The tallest building in Europe is the Shard, which has no takers to date.
But the tallest building in the United States, One World Trade Center, is 55% let before completion.
What is driving tenants to the tallest towers in the USA and holding them back in the rest of the world? Is it culture or economy? Fact or feeling? Read on to find out more…
One World Trade Center: Bravery
The first new World Trade Center to near completion has seen massive interest from a range of high profile tenants. Entering the building to begin work in 2014 will be the US General Services Administration, Cond├⌐ Nast and Vantone China.
Two years before its expected completion, the 3 million square foot One World Trade Center is 55% let and developers remain consistently optimistic about its iconic future.
According to local authorities, it is the daring of ambitious early renters that has led to the towerΓÇÖs success.
Manhattan Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, hailed Cond├⌐ Nast as a trendsetter when it took space in 2011, claiming that bold moves like these would attract more and more interest. Additionally, Anthony R. Coscia, Port Authority Chairman, called Vantone ChinaΓÇÖs lease a ΓÇÿstamp of approvalΓÇÖ for the towerΓÇÖs global appeal.
The Burj Khalifa: Sensibility
How can the tallest building on the planet lack appeal? That is the question being asked increasingly around the world as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai struggles to find occupants for its 37 floors of office space.
There is no such thing as a confirmed occupancy rate for this iconic tower, as developers are withholding the information from the public. However, the BBC has it from experts in the industry that over 20 floors of offices lie empty above the clouds.
The reason appears to be that economics trumps ego ΓÇô good quality office space in the shade of the Burj Khalifa goes for half the price. It may also be the case that, in a tough economy, it is important to businesses (outside the United States) to appear reserved, not reckless.
ΓÇ£The Burj Khalifa is a global icon, and a fantastic and prestigious address,ΓÇ¥ Middle East commercial space specialist, Alan Robertson, told the BBC. ΓÇ£But thatΓÇÖs not the kind of image a lot of multi-national corporates want to portray these days. They want to be seen as sensible and business-like, not over-the-top and glitzy.ΓÇ¥
The Shard: Mystery
The tallest office tower in Europe opened early in July 2012, complete with a 5* hotel, stunning panoramic views over London… and 26 floors of vast, empty office space.
Unlike its fellow tallest towers, the ShardΓÇÖs story is not about a lack of that brash, bold New Yorker spirit or the presence of a calculated cool from the likes of UAE businesses. Rather, itΓÇÖs about who is and isnΓÇÖt on the guest list.
Developer Irvine Sellar insists he is being ΓÇÿextremely selectiveΓÇÖ about who takes space in the building, and the Qatari royals who own the building consider return on investment ΓÇÿa minor thingΓÇÖ.
This suggests that lack of interest has nothing to do with lack of take-up; the question is not ΓÇÿwhat is wrong with the Shard?ΓÇÖ but rather, ΓÇÿwho is good enough for the Shard?ΓÇÖ
What is so alluring about some towers and so off-putting about others? Should the Shard owners be so picky about their tenants? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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