Greenland Wuhan Center, designed to surpass the Shanghai Tower and become China’s tallest building, will be falling short of its planned 636 metres (2086 feet) height, after the local government prescribed a 21 percent reduction in height for the central China supertall, according to an account in local media outlet the Paper.
The RMB 30 billion ($4.38 billion) project located in the city’s Wuchang District, will now reach only 500 metres, after local authorities decided to opt for airport safety over municipal pride. The revision in plans for the building in the city’s Binjiang central business district — some 250 metres from the Yangtze River — follows an expansion of the city’s air transit hub completed in 2017, which put the 126-storey tower within the path of planes approaching Tianhe International Airport.
The change in height for the Greenland Wuhan Center is the latest chapter in a much-revised saga of a supertall building that, for more than a decade, has been planned to dominate the skyline of the central China commercial hub.
Central China Supertall Becomes Decade-Long Project
Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill had designed the skyscraper to reach 126 floors above ground with the project originally slated for completion next year after beginning construction in 2010. However, progress on the Hubei province landmark stalled in August 2017, when construction had only reached the 96th floor.
Nearly a year after the suspension of the project, the Shanghai-based developer said in an internal Project Communication letter this month that, “According to the notification of Wuhan government, the main tower of the Greenland Center has received official approval to build to a height of 500 metres above sea level.”
The original plans called for a 300,000 square metre complex including luxury hotels, serviced apartments, shopping centers, and intelligent offices. The reduced height would rank the finished building as China’s fifth-tallest, well below the 632-metre height of the Shanghai tower and also behind the Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen, Goldin Finance 117 in Tianjin, and the CTF Finance Centre in Guangzhou. According to Greenland Group’s website, the skyscraper was originally expected to be 606 metres. However, local media Sohu reported that three years after the project began, the Wuhan Government changed the expected height of the building to 636 metres in 2014.
Airport Expansion Brings Down Tall Ambitions
On August 20, the Land Resources and Urban Planning Bureau of Wuhan responded to a netizen’s inquiry, explaining the reason for shaving down the skyscraper, “The construction height of Greenland Center is very close to the airport protection height in the area,” the official response read. “In order to ensure the aviation safety, the construction of the building is temporarily suspended.”
China’s NDRC approved plans in 2014 for a RMB 64.7 million extension of Wuhan’s Tianhe Airport, a project which was completed in 2017. The expansion necessitated a corresponding extension in height restrictions in the surrounding area, although it is unclear why Greenland’s project plans were not revised until more than three years after the airport plans were approved. The Greenland Center is located some 25 kilometres from the airport.
The government also indicated that a construction license issued for the project in August last year for permitted a building height of 455 metres. To date, Greenland Group has not commented on airspace restrictions for the building.
At present, a total of 1023 units below the 85th floor of Greenland Center have been approved for pre-sale including grade A office space from the 4th to 62nd floors, and luxury serviced apartments from the 67th to 85th floors. The redesign plan will affect the construction of the project’s hotel and observation deck space, which was planned to begin from the 85th floor.
Ping An Finance Center and Canton Tower Also Cut Short
Greenland Center is not China’s only skyscraper to have been scaled down due to airspace regulations. The 604 metre Canton Tower in Guangzhou and the 600 metre Ping An Finance Center in Shenzhen also lost floors due to air traffic concerns.
The Canton Tower in the Guangdong capital’s Haizhu District was originally planned to reach 610 metres, and the Ping An Finance Center was intended to reach 660 metres, before airport issues intervened.