Safra London Tallest Tower is a Go! - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Safra London Tallest Tower is a Go!

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London’s governing body is all in on the capital’s second-tallest building and making it look like a tulip. The 1,000-foot tower will become a new landmark with its top that will make the building an especially coveted tourist attraction to spot, which won’t be hard to do with its height and prominence, the Financial Times reports.

Closeup rendering of the Tulip bulb. If construction starts next year as planned, tourists could fill that bulb by 2025.

The only thing standing in the way of this marvel is Sadiq Khan, the London mayor responsible for approving the building. Otherwise, no construction may proceed. If the tower proceeds, visitors will be able to have sights that they could have only dreamed of before, and it would be all thanks to J Safra Group, particularly Jacob Safra, the Brazilian billionaire. It would instantly become as recognizable in the growing London skyline as Manhattan buildings like the Chrysler Building and One World Trade are to the New York skyline.

Before the mayor makes a decision though, the developers have to quell concerns posed by Greater London Authority planning officers, according to the Financial Times, adding that the new building would cause “significant levels of harm” for all of the sightlines and views currently offered in the area as it currently stands today. There is still optimism though that this building which would be right near the oddly shaped and distinct “Gherkin” could help the city.

J Safra Group has possession over the Gherkin, which already sits 40 stories above 30 St Mary Axe. The group wound up with the building out of the 2008 financial crisis mayhem. Original plans included a reworking of the top of the existing building in order to turn it into a more tourist-grabbing cone. An architect suggested something totally different, and new, Bloomberg reports. Why not erect another glorious tower nearby? Not only would there be a new tower that would have the tulip shape, but visitors could dine in that bulb while taking in the breathtaking views. After a long day of work meetings or a trans-Atlantic flight, a cocktail at the sky bar doesn’t sound so bad.

Renderings show what a walk inside would look like. Walking on air and high society take on new meanings.

Even though the building waits for mayoral approval, the city planning commission had little problem giving the okay for the phenomenal Safra project. With a vote of 18-7, following the inclusion of more areas that are designated to be used by schools for free, the building proceeded, the Financial Times reports. The building is peculiar because of the plan to make profits from almost entirely tourism. As long as everything continues moving ahead smoothly, J Safra could have its building by 2025.

“After a lengthy and robust debate, the committee agreed to approve this truly unique visitor attraction,” Planning Committee Chairman Chris Hayward.

Financed by the Brazilian billionaire, the building comprises a glass viewing platform, rotating pods on the outside and an education center. Construction is likely to begin next year and finish in 2025. It will help give J Safra another building that prominently figures into the skyline because newer buildings obscure the Gherkin more than when it was originally built. Needless to say, the skyline has come a long way from when a church was the highest building in town.

Business Times cited a report by New London Architecture that showed how new buildings in London are on the rise, which may be one more reason why it makes sense for J Safra to add another building and make it a big one. The survey showed that almost 550 buildings are expected to be built, with all of these properties exceeding 20 stories.

An overhead rendering of the Tulip and the current Gherkin. While enjoying one Safra property, look out on another one.

With all of that planned construction on tall buildings, opposition continues growing from people who think that these large properties do little more than crowd the city and ruin the sights. Business Times reports about past projects like the sky line that saw big protests and criticisms, so there is no guarantee for J Safra, but if that building gets erected, minds will surely change quickly.

One of the men behind the iconic company and family that’s given back so much to the Jewish community, Joseph Safra, is considered the richest banker in the world according to Forbes, which says he is now Brazil’s richest person.

His total net worth: a reported $25.2 billion. He replaces businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann on the list.

The Lebanon-born Safra, 81, is said to be one of the most charitable members of Brazil’s 120,000-member Jewish community.

Over the course of the last six years, Safra’s banks’ worth increased by $1.6 billion, rising from 36th to 31st, according to Vos Iz Neias. “The billionaires remain the only Brazilians in the top 100 of the world’s richest. Next on the list are Marcel Herrmann Telles (141st), also a partner in 3G, and Eduardo Saverin (153rd), co-founder of Facebook.”

Renderings depict a beautiful world within that lets you look down at other floors and at the panoramic view outside. The multiple floors will help control expected crowding.

The Safra legacy also continues living on through a sparkling new Upper East Side center. The state-of-the art 14-floor facility on East 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side engages members in a compelling mix of celebration and worship that brings together a vibrant Jewish community. At the same time, the center’s nurturing space brings people together from diverse Jewish backgrounds to share, grow, and learn.

The community center, named in memory of esteemed Jewish philanthropist Moise Safra, a’h, at the age of 79, is a living tribute to man who, along with his entire family, was internationally renowned for his exceptional generosity to charitable causes and his love for the Jewish people and humanity at large.

Kids gather to learn from the display in this rendering. They’re also treated to some spectacular views.
Renderings show that the building will have bubble-like elevators on the outside. While thrilling, they also serve the important role of compliance for the handicapped.
The Tulip as seen depicted in this rendering in the existing skyline. Even buildings like the Gherkin have been overshadowed by the evolving skyline.

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