China-based ZhongRong Group has unveiled plans to invest £500m to reconstruct the Crystal Palace and restore the surrounding public park in London.
The original Crystal Palace was designed by Joseph Paxton for the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and was expanded and relocated to South London in 1854.
The palace was destroyed by a fire in 1936 and most of the original site is now unused, with only a small section hosting temporary events.
ZhongRong has appointed the UK-based engineering practice Arup to develop a concept for the new palace and prepare the design principles for the project.
The proposals for the project include the full restoration of the park, based on the original Victorian design, through new landscaping, planting and a central tree-lined boulevard.
Plans also include a new cafe, visitor centre, restored concert bowl and improvements to access, lighting.
The new culture-led exhibition space will be built at the top of the 180-acre Crystal Palace Park in south London.
After completion, it will feature Italian style terraces and other Victorian heritage within the park.
ZhongRong chairman Ni Zhaoxing said, "This project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring its spirit back to life by recreating the Crystal Palace and restoring the park to its former glory to create a new and exciting destination for local people and international visitors."
The project is in early stages and additional detailed proposals for both the palace and the park are planned to be developed in the coming months.
ZhongRong has submitted a request for an exclusivity agreement to Bromley Council in the UK as the land owner, which the council will consider shortly.
A planning application is expected to be submitted in late 2014 while work on the project would start at a similar time in 2015.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said the move marks a new chapter for Crystal Palace Park.
"This is a vision that could not only see a world-class landmark building reinstated, of the quality of the original, but the restoration of the entire surrounding park, bringing jobs and growth," Johnson said.
"Together with Bromley council and taking account of the views of local people and leading experts, we’ll now be working closely with ZhongRong Group to progress these plans in more detail."
Image: Aerial view of Crystal Palace. Photo: Courtesy of Arup.