Shard could signal crisis, claims BarCap

Marion Dakers
THE DEVELOPERS of the Shard skyscraper could be forgiven for having pre-completion nerves yesterday, after a pair of gloomy research papers cast a pall over the tower.

The Shard will be entering a rough rental market when it completes in May, according to research by BNP Paribas Real Estate. Last year, take-up of office space in central London fell 37.5 per cent to 9m square feet, with less than 1m square feet in the City.

The financial sector was noticeable in its absence from big office deals, BNP said, with the technology sector instead snapping up prime space.

And even if the Shard’s estate agents can attract tenants, its mere presence on the London skyline could be a signal of economic trouble, Barclays Capital analysts claim.

BarCap suggests that booms in skyscraper construction have an “unhealthy correlation” with financial crashes, and that the current frenzy of tower-building in China and India shows an excess of credit.