A Chinese billionaire has unveiled plans to rebuild the iconic Victorian glass structure that housed the Great Exhibition in 1851.
Originally located in Hyde Park, the Crystal Palace was dismantled and moved to south-east London in 1854. If the plans go ahead, the replica will be built to the original dimensions of about 500 metres long and 50 metres high.
London mayor Boris Johnson unveiled the proposal at the site on Penge common, where the original structure burned down in 1936.
“This is going to recreate a 21st century version of the palace,” Johnson said. “This isn’t an act of nostalgia. It is looking forward and it is about adorning our city with a world-class structure.”
The £500m project is to be bankrolled by Chinese billionaire Ni Zhaoxing, and building work could begin as early as 2015.
The rebuilt palace will become home to an extensive art collection, a luxury hotel and other commercial space. Zhaoxing said the project would create 2,000 jobs, and would profit from attracting tourists and using the space to host international exhibitions.
“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,” he said.
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