Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Landmark Day, in more senses than one

On my way from church over to Tredegarville school on an errand this afternoon, I saw a forty foot articulated lorry parked alongside the construction site hoarding on the Hayes, close to Mister Bachelor's statue, sole perpetual witness to redevelopment from start to eventual finish, on his traffic island plinth, a stone's throw away from the perennial Hayes Island open air Snack Bar. The lorry was laden with long steel girders, the first batch of hundreds to be delivered in the coming months for the construction of the rest of the SD2 development.

The weekly bulletin from City Centre Management already noted that the next really visible phase of the work in hand was about to start. In fact, a trip upstairs in the newly opened TKMaxx or Borders Bookshop stores occupying the former David Morgan apartment store buildings, would afford anyone a good view over the hoardings across the road, and reveal many layered activities of excavation, pile driving and concrete pouring going on simultaneously in different sections of this giant building site, since well before the opening of the stores this summer. Anyway, I noted that the deliveries had started, cursed not having my camera with me, and went about by business.

Three hours later, back home at tea-time, I took a casual peek at the latest hi-res images from the webcams overlooking the construction site. To my great surprise, in the bottom right hand corner of the view from the St David's Hall, I noticed a large section of steel framework was visible for the first time. In a fit of enthusiasm, I picked up my camera and cycled as fast as I could with sunset fast approaching to get a first photo of the beginnings of an edifice which will rapidly fill the open city-scape which we've enjoyed in the past six months since the demolition of Oxford House and the Old Library was completed.

Thanks to Google I have a new photo gallery for showing off larger versions of the pictures I take, and hope to record the incremental growth of this new structure with greater regularity than I managed with the erection of the John Lewis store framework over the past month.

When the shopping mall and the high rise apartments overlooking the Hayes have risen to a hundred and fifty feet above street level, the entire David Morgan building, magnificent in its day, will be completely overshadowed by its new neighbour. I wonder how many of the eager purchasers of the apartments created by the conversion of the upper stories of the David Morgan buildings realised this when they put down their deposits on that famous occasion when over a hundred apartments were sold in a single day's trading?

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