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Massive Chinese take away planned for CP.

Chinese Development Proposals Crystal Palace Park Top Site Development Crystal Palace London Crystal Palace ZhongRong Group Bromley Council Masterplan

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#1 Norwood lad

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

China’s Crystal Palace

26 July 2013 | By Sarah Townsend

1767779_Crystal-Palace-reconstruction.jp

Billionaire Shanghai-based developer plans radical reconstruction of 900,000 sq ft Victorian building

A billionaire Chinese developer has submitted radical plans to rebuild the Victorian Crystal Palace that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Shanghai-based developer ZhongRong Holdings, part of ZhongRong Group, proposes to develop an exact replica of the 900,000 sq ft cast-iron and glass structure designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, which was first erected in Hyde Park and then relocated to the south-east London site after the exhibition.

The original Crystal Palace burned down in 1936. It occupied a site in the north-western part of what is now known as Crystal Palace Park, which houses the Greater London Authority-owned National Sports Centre and its 15,500-seat athletics stadium.

It is understood ZhongRong Holdings submitted initial proposals for the reconstruction in June.

The company is working with the Greater London Authority, Bromley Council and Arup in early-stage talks to develop the proposals, with a view to submitting a planning application later this year.

The new building will be a public space for exhibitions and other events. Architects have yet to be appointed.

The scheme also contains retail and other commercial elements. However, the parties involved are understood to be keen to ensure the scheme does not detract from the “Crystal Palace Triangle” — three streets close to the park with a burgeoning cluster of independent shops and restaurants.

The project is expected to provide the necessary private investment to help Bromley Council progress stalled plans to regenerate the park. In 2007, the council drew up a £67.5m masterplan for Crystal Palace Park through now-defunct quango the London Development Agency, to include a new sports centre with a swimming pool, sports hall and health facilities, a car park and new housing.

The masterplan was signed off by communities secretary Eric Pickles in 2010, subject to revisions, but has met with opposition from local residents who wish to protect the park from redevelopment.

On 26 June the Court of Appeal threw out the most recent legal challenge to the plans. It is understood the idea to put housing on the park is not being discussed now because of the previous controversy it aroused.

ZhongRong Group was established in 1992 to focus primarily on the Chinese real estate sector.

Its schemes include the Jasper Tower, Hengrui International Plaza and the International Business City in Shanghai’s Pudong district.

The company is owned and chaired by Ni Zhaoxing, who is worth $1.25bn, the latest Forbes Rich List shows.

A spokeswoman for the mayor of London said: “The mayor and the London Borough of Bromley have been approached by a potential developer who is keen to redevelop a large section of the north side of the park.

Discussions between all parties remain at a very early feasibility stage but the plans do not include any residential development.”

A spokesman for Bromley Council said: “The exact nature of the discussions and the parties involved remains confidential.”

 

http://www.propertyw...5058312.article

 



#2 Norwood lad

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 09:14 AM

Certainly got a bit more money than the last lot that wanted to rebuild CP that’s for sure.

 

http://www.gemus.org...id=25&_np=4_425



#3 charlie

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 09:55 AM

Bromley council blind copied the following email to various 'stakeholders' yesterday, obviously panicked by the impending Property Week story. It feels like a massive kick in the teeth to everyone who has been working to get some projects off the ground in the park in a sustainable way without resorting to commercial or residential development for funding. 

 

The devil will obviously be in the detail, so we will have to wait and see what exactly is proposed. 

 

Dear Stakeholder,
 
As you are aware, we have been looking at all the options to improve Crystal Palace Park, to try and secure the long term future of the park.  You will recall that we have been looking at different funding streams, including grant funding and the potential to divert monies being given by South London Boroughs from the Lea Valley Park to Crystal Palace Park.  Some of these options and ideas have not yet materialised but when a proposal looks like it may be viable, we will of course, share it with the wider community, along with an outline of what the various processes might be.  
 
As part of sharing information, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that there has been a very early conversation with a developer who may be interested in developing the so called top site.  These discussions are at an extremely early stage but it is understood that the developer is keen to bring forward much needed improvements to the park.  Any such proposal would be subject to planning permission.  However it is too early to specify what the plans may include as they are not yet available but it is not envisaged that they would include residential development.
 
Please be assured that should proposals become sufficiently advanced they will be shared widely.  Please also be assured that when we are able to say more, we will of course, let you know.
 
Kind regards,
 
Community Development Team
London Borough of Bromley
0208 464 3333


#4 Norwood lad

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 10:30 AM

I have to say this is probably a GLA initiative rather than Bromley as they have been a lot of deals done recently between the GLA and Chinese investment on numerous GLA sponsored regeneration schemes ( for which CP Park is one).

 

Not much to go on from reading the article, more questions than answers at the moment.



#5 cheerfulmusicman

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

I had to check this wasn't posted on April 1st - ZhongRong Holdings - wrong?

 

Interesting though, I always dream about a re-build.



#6 JMS

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

Very exciting potentially - the article does say the housing on the park would be dropped - that will please some people!



#7 charlie

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:07 PM

On 26 June the Court of Appeal threw out the most recent legal challenge to the plans. It is understood the idea to put housing on the park is not being discussed now because of the previous controversy it aroused.

 

 

Controversy, this will make the housing issue look like a storm in a teacup.  ^_^ 

 

Not sure if anyone remembers this photo montage from the Londonist earlier in the year but they've picked up on the latest news and updated the article:

 

Crystal Palace Could Be Rebuilt By Chinese Developers

 

Crystal_Palace_alexfknights.jpg

 

When the second incarnation of London’s Crystal Palace burnt to the ground in 1936, Winston Churchill declared “This is the end of an age.”

 

So today’s news that a billionaire Chinese property developer might be interested in rebuilding the palace could well mark the start of a new one.

 

ZhongRong Holdings is reported to be interested in creating a replica of Joseph Paxton’s glass and steel building that first housed the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, and was later moved and rebuilt on Penge Common, now Crystal Palace Park. The second version was considerably bigger than the first, and housed a school of art, science and literature, as well as concerts, exhibitions and other types of entertainment.

Ni Zhaoxing, who has an estimated $1.25bn fortune and owns the Shanghai-based ZhongRong Holdings, said he wants to build the copy of the 900,000 sq ft building. It’s said that Zhaoxing has already appointed consulting engineers Arup to develop proposals for the South London site. The full proposals are expected later this year.

 

However, it seems everyone involved is eager to point out that these discussions are in really early stages.

 

A spokesperson from Bromley Council said, “We are committed to improving Crystal Palace Park which remains a jewel, not just in Bromley, but in London’s crown. We are continuing to look at and explore all funding options, including grant funding, that might be available to help secure a long term and viable future. As part of this, we have had discussions with a number of parties and all of these conversations remain at early stages.”

 

Perhaps the above visual mock-up from earlier this year might sway a few decision makers?



#8 jamesl

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 05:34 PM

Well this will give people on some quarters something to shout about for the next 10. Years. Wonder if those who opposed the original masterplan, which envisaged the top site as a tree lined boulevard shaped into the outline of the old palace feel any remote remorse about the potential consequences they have, imho, now helped to bring crashing down on the area.


As for the mock.up. why not look at the real thing

http://landmark.lamb...andmark&id=1006

No one wants this surely ?

#9 JMS

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 05:11 PM

I think its very exciting....



#10 Abu Nuwas

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:58 PM

So much for the Masterplan which it was thought necessary to defend at great expense in the Court of Appeal. Perhaps Mr Zhong Rong might do this in China oor Zimbabwe . Do our people really think that ''inward investment'' will not produce a profit? For our Chinese friend? It is so nutty.

 

Has anyone been persuaded to go to Bicester Village? So English, eh? But Chinese owned. So many visitors! (Chinese) Such posh English brands (Chinese) The jobs it has created!-- well, it has. Naturally, manned by Chinese. Isn't some Chinese plick re-creating the Loire valley where there used to be those damned pandas?

 

I am pro-Crystal Palace, done properly, and pro-Chinese --I just don't want my country owned by them. They would insist on a 'local partner' in China. Our guys seem to be a bit simple.



#11 Zirconium

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 05:04 PM

It would be interesting to hear the views of the Community Stakeholder Group on this development.  I was under the impression that the Masterplan was the blueprint for future development of the Park.  Bromley need to clarify their intentions pretty quickly if they want to keep the local community onside.  On the face of it they seem to have entered into discussions with this Chinese consortium without informing the CSG - a community group which they themselves appointed!



#12 Abu Nuwas

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

It would be interesting to hear the views of the Community Stakeholder Group on this development.  I was under the impression that the Masterplan was the blueprint for future development of the Park.  Bromley need to clarify their intentions pretty quickly if they want to keep the local community onside.  On the face of it they seem to have entered into discussions with this Chinese consortium without informing the CSG - a community group which they themselves appointed!

 

 

The CSG have rather lost credibility with me. They may be v nice people, but I tried to ask

 

 

I have rather lost faith in the CSG. I made a suggestion about labelling trees, as is done in the surrounds of the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I also asked whether there was a vacancy (for me, for example). Perhaps it was lost in cyber-space; they may all be charming people. Whatever, I did not receive a reply.  Were I them, I should be inclined to let Bromley get on with it, in their 'confidential' way.


Edited by MattVN, 28 July 2013 - 11:26 PM.
removed huge gaps between lines and some words


#13 RayE

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

Local feelings have been incensed by the rather mindless actions of the GLA and Bromley Council - all these secret and confidential negotiations, of course we understand are for the community benefit.  ZhongRong Holdings was said to be involved with projects in the Shanghai Pudong district (which I know fairly well) - how any organisation connected with an area in a heavily populated city, which tries to outdo Manhattan in its brashness (and height), can be thought to have the credentials to deal with Crystal Palace Park is beyond my understanding.  We are told that  its director Ni Zhaoxing has a fortune of $1.25 billion - impressive!  London and Regional Properties (the multiplex people) also had access to that kind of money. All we have is the conviction that no "large scale commercial development" is welcome on the park and conviction was enough to see off L&RP.

 

Then there's the little matter of the act of parliament - Crystal Palace Act (1990): to accommodate a full scale Crystal Palace, this act would have to be changed since it limits the footprint of buildings to half of the 'pink' area (defined in the act) - this amounts to about 1/4 of the original Palace footprint.  Just big enough to accommodate the phantom multiplex!  It may be that ZhongRong have a way of changing acts of parliament (so do we), but it's not a speedy process.

 

Pity that Arup have got involved with ZhongRong - but I suppose they have to make a living.  They did some good work in the run-up to the Master Plan submission and, I suggest, should warn their clients  that the path will not be easy.... Now here's a suggestion (to be constructive) for ZhongRong and Arup - and I'm serious, as always - I certainly would welcome ZhongRong as the sponsor for the INTERPRETATION BUILDING.  In the Master Plan a spot alongside the subway was reserved for this.  It was designed to house (amongst other things) a new Crystal Palace museum (which could do with the funding) and include a viewing platform on top - maximum height allowed about 20m.  It could be called the Crystal Palace Interpretation Centre (kindly sponsored by ZhongRon Holdings Ltd)... what do you think?

 

No need for a montage to show what a huge building the original was and how it completely dominated everything around it:

 

Attached File  Cpalace_a.jpg   121.04KB   7 downloads

 

This is the original picture, "Woodland Hill", on which the montage was based.

 

Where do we go from here?  We're not at the "chaining to the bulldozer" phase yet, but we should have the chains ready.  Isn't it time ZhongRong (and Arup) talked to the stakeholders (us) directly?  Secrecy is never a good option for community relations. We're really quite open, happy people who love a good debate, Queensbury rules?



#14 Biped

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:20 PM

Hmmm. So this would basically be a massive glass shopping centre with a bit of "community space", right? It'll end up looking like Meadowhall in Sheffield. And there's no way that would get planning permission in the park. Sneaky to dress it up as an attempt to recreate the past.

#15 jamesl

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:52 PM

I do not like this idea at all but I do think Bromley need to set out clearly what they know and who is driving this.

 

There is already a load of scare mongering and tittle tattle which is hardly surprising when all we really have is two short press releases. One from Bromley saying they have had an early stage approach on one suggesting a replica . The 900000 square foot figure, for example, is speculative and the LDA have previously measured the site at 630000 square foot (still very big I grant you).

 

I've already heard a load of guff about the transmitter having to be taken down and claims the building would be 900 metres long (the original palace was about 3000 feet long ie 900 metres but that included land now occupied by the transmitter and the bus garage, neither of which I can see going anywhere as the transmitter is a huge cash cow for arciva and also central to national government digital broadcast strategy. There is no way this scheme would get anywhere without the high Ptal which tje bus garage contributes to. Whatever peoples views (and anecdotally a straw poll of 20 down the pub came out about evens)- there is a long way to go.

 

I doubt this would go through without a public enquiry (pretty sure this part of the park is metropolitan open land as the attempts to remove that status in 2004 were rejected by a planning inspector) so there will be years of argument. And there is a big argument about need given Westfield in Croydon and Bromleys own plans to double retail space in its town centre by 2018 including two more large shopping centres to supplement the glades. Plus there is the Bromley and Croydon core strategies neither of which envisage large commercial development and, possibly, a complete change of government before this gets anywhere near sec of state approval.

 

Also if St Aidans purchasers pull their finger out over Victory Place there would be a strong over saturation argument. So there is no need to panic at the moment but I would like to understand just how supportive or otherwise the LDA and Bromley are about it. It seems like a real kick in the teeth for those who supported the masterplan and were prepared to accept some limited housing to provide some seed funding. This idea seems like a massive backward step to the attritional war of commercial proposals put forward in the 90's which generated such ill feeling and years of litigation right up to the House of Lords It's also so depressing to see the road map which the masterplan provided being torn up.

 

I don't support this scheme at all but I am also so depressed that the perpetual wrangling over the park just leads to one fight after another after another and I just hope those locals who implacably opposed the masterplan can see what lost opportunity their refusal to accept any form of compromise may now have led to. The masterplan was approved in December 2010 but was then subject to massive uncertainty whilst the legal challenge against the Sec of States approval played out (and let's be clear the challenge was to approval of all, not parts, of the plan so would have thrown out the whole thing if it had succeeded).

 

The net result is that any chance of implementation, such as the tree lined walkway on the topsite which was hardly controversial, got dashed for another 2 1/2 years pending resolution of the uncertainty. And Lo and behold, as nature abhors a vacuum so developers love an empty site. Many locals supported to MP exactly to avoid the eventuality of further and unwelcome speculative attempts at development of the top site and it was a core theme of the evidence they gave at the public enquiry. But their words and warning were ignored by the usual noisy neighbours who, no doubt without a hint of remorse, will soon be calling on locals to fight a situation, which, imho, they have done quite a lot to bring about.

 

The housing taking up just 1 % of the park and freeing up more than it took was a modest compromise in comparison to this beast and no matter how well organised local opposition might be or become, no community group wins every battle and this will be the third one in 20 years over the topsite. Even Mohammed Ali eventually got beat.


Edited by MattVN, 30 July 2013 - 06:31 AM.
Put in paragraphs - very difficult to read otherwise!






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Chinese Development Proposals, Crystal Palace Park, Top Site, Development, Crystal Palace, London Crystal Palace, ZhongRong Group, Bromley Council, Masterplan