January’s top stories: Qatar group buys Canary Wharf complex for $4bn

5 February 2015 (Last Updated February 5th, 2015 18:30)

A Qatari-led consortium won its bid to acquire the Canary Wharf complex in London, Bouygues Construction partnered with WWF France to develop sustainable urban lifestyles as part of the Reinventing the City framework, and Dalian Wanda unveiled plans to invest $1bn in a prime property redevelopment at Sydney Harbour. Designbuild-network wraps-up the key headlines from January.

January’s top stories: Qatar group buys Canary Wharf complex for $4bn

Twisted Tower

Qatar Investment Authority acquires Canary Wharf complex

Canary Wharf

A Qatari-led consortium won its long-running battle to acquire Songbird Estates' Canary Wharf complex in London, after the £2.6bn ($4bn) offer was accepted by three of its major shareholders.

Songbird maintained that the offer price undervalued its properties, but said that there were no rival bids to consider, so recommended that minority investors accept the offer.

The company previously advised its shareholders to reject the takeover proposal from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and US investor Brookfield Property Partners.

Lafarge Tarmac sells land for £2bn theme park in Kent, UK

London Paramound

Construction solutions provider Lafarge Tarmac signed an agreement with London Resort Company (LRCH) to sell 388 acres land for the proposed £2bn London Paramount Entertainment Resort in North Kent, UK.

Swanscombe Peninsula land was formerly a cement plant in the UK named Swanscombe Works, which closed in 1993.

The binding option agreement will bring the resort one step closer to completion.

Dalian Wanda plans $1bn investment in Sydney

Sydney Harbour

China's commercial real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda started overseas expansion with plans to invest $1bn in a prime property redevelopment at Sydney Harbour.

Dalian's latest plans include the acquisition of Blackstone Group's Gold Fields House at the Circular Quay in Sydney's central business district for $327m, as well as purchasing the nearby Fairfax House for $57.6m.

The latest investment, which is the second after Dalian's Gold Coast acquisition last August, involves redeveloping both the 185m-high tower and the 160-room, five-star hotel.

MVRDV wins competition to build twisting tower in Vienna

MDRDV

Netherlands-based architecture and urban design practice MVRDV won the competition to build a twisting 'hourglass-shaped' tower near Vienna's Gasometers.

According to the architect, the project site is adjacent to a metro station and regulations restrict new-builds to 75m-high. To overcome this, the company proposed a compact, square layout to reduce the footprint.

MVRDV will parametrically shape the lower ten floors of the building into a twist, so that the structure only casts a shadow onto neighbouring facades for two hours a day. The upper 20 floors will have a traditional square layout.

G&Co to develop $817m Millennium Square project in Dubai

Middle East property developer G&Co is to develop the AED3bn ($817m) Millennium Square project, a brand new bespoke residential community in Meydan City, Dubai.

To be marketed exclusively by real estate broker SPF Realty, the project will be handed over in the last quarter of 2017.

Millennium Square in Meydan Dubai is said to offer semi-detached villas with pairs of houses built side-by-side sharing a party wall.

Construction starts on Boston's tallest tower

pei cobb design

Construction started on a 61-storey mixed-use tower at the historic Back Bay area of Boston, US.

The building, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners along with Cambridge Seven Associates, will house a hotel and luxury condominiums.

The $700m tower named Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences One Dalton Street is being developed by Carpenter & Company.

Planned to be built on a site between the Christian Science Plaza and the Prudential Center, the tower will feature a 211-room hotel at the buidling's lower 18 floors, while 188 residential condominiums will take up the 36 floors above.

The master plan also cites a 5,000ft² park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Cadillac Fairview proposes 26-storey tower for Vancouver waterfront

Canada-based Cadillac Fairview announced plans to build a tower on the parking lot between Waterfront Station and The Landing.

Designed by B+H Architects and international firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, the 26-storey glass Waterfront Tower is planned to be built between two Vancouver heritage buildings on the edge of Gastown.

Cadillac Fairview's proposal may not go through a public hearing process, as the land is already said to be zoned for an office building.

The proposal for the 127m tower must gain consent from the development permit board at a meeting in March.

Trammell Crow and MetLife launch new HKS-designed Park District

Trammell Crow Company and joint venture partner MetLife unveiled Park District, a mixed-use project designed by Dallas-based HKS Architects.

The 916,000ft² Park District will have a Class A office tower, a residential tower, ground-floor retail, extensive below-grade parking and a plaza designed by architecture firm The Office of James Burnett.

Construction is expected to commence this year and the project will sit on the three-acre parcel between Pearl Street, Olive Street and Klyde Warren Park.

Bouygues Construction and WWF France partner on sustainable cities research

Bouygues Construction signed a three-year partnership agreement with WWF France to develop sustainable urban lifestyles for communities and businesses, as part of framework called Reinventing the City.

Cities around the world will have to house more than six billion people by 2050, double of the current estimated population.

They will also have to find ways to face this challenge by reducing energy and water consumption, setting up a circular economy, enhancing transport management and constructing increasingly connected buildings, among other measures, Bouygues stated.

With this partnership, both firms will undertake research on population issues and a French construction company is likely to be associated with the work being carried out by WWF platforms in Sweden and China.