It was one of the most majestic buildings in the heart of London and now the Crystal Palace could be coming into the 21st century.

A Chinese billionaire has revealed that he is planning to spend £500 million on creating a replica of the iconic structure. Ni Zhaoxing, chairman of the ZhongRong Group real estate investment group, wants to bring the 19th century building back to life. The tycoon has earmarked Hyde Park as the site for the new Crystal Palace but wants to keep the original dimensions of around 500m long and 50m high.

In its day, the building was the world's largest glass structure following its completion in 1851. It was home to over 14,000 exhibitions from all over the world and even portrayed examples of the latest technology being developed during the Industrial Revolution. It came to a sad demise when the Sir Joseph Paxton designed building was destroyed in a fire in 1936.

Now, Mr Zhaoxing wants to recreate this magnificent structure and has submitted plans which are currently awaiting approval. London Mayor Boris Johnson has given his backing to the development and has described the project as being able to "recreate a 21st century version of the palace". He also maintained that it was not simply "an act of nostalgia" and is something that can add real value to the city of London.

Mr Zhaoxing added: "London is renowned across the world for its history and culture. 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."

The new Crystal Palace will be used for concerts, conferences and conventions and exhibitions sitting in the middle of Hyde Park. It will sit atop the original terraced steps which is currently home to an amphitheatre which has hosted gigs by Bob Marley and been a national sports centre instrumental during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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