So what happened to all those lovely new towers we were promised? The Shard, the helter-skelter, the cheesegrater and their friends have been around as designs for years. But where have they got to? If you've checked the City skyline lately, you'll notice it's all cranes. Things are finally happening and everything's in place for a new-look London for 2011. Here's a tour of five of the more prominent sites, all of which are undergoing demolition.
Shard London Bridge
310 m, 72 floors
Renzo Piano's tower at London Bridge will be the UK's tallest if it is realised. Recent financial complications have cast a new round of uncertainty on the project, but preparation is underway. PriceWaterhouseCoopers have vacated the 100 m tall Southwark Towers, which currently rises above the site. Scaffolding is slowly rising in preparation for demolition little more than 30 years after its construction.
Outlook: Funding is still up in the air, and so is Southwark Towers, but there's still optimism this will go ahead for completion around 2011.
Bishopsgate Tower (Helter Skelter; The Pinnacle)
288 m, 63 floors
The stunning tower from Kohn Pedersen Fox will be the tallest in the City cluster, and is rightly called the Pinnacle. The elegant spiral design will replace an unloved lowrise close to the Cheesegrater site. Demolition work is well underway and this one should start rising late next year for a 2010 finish.
Outlook: Almost certain now
246 m, 47 floors
Further north along Bishopsgate is the site of Heron Tower. Although only the third tallest of the new crop, this scraper will still be loftier than 1 Canada Square. As with the Pinnacle site, demolition is fast proceeding of two low rise blocks from the 1960s. Construction could begin this year, once demolition concludes.
Outlook: Almost certain.
122 Leadenhall Street (Cheesegrater)
225 m, 48 floors
This Richard Rogers design will stand close to the Gherkin and Lloyds Building, on Leadenhall Street. This should be the first of the new crop of scrapers to rise. Bottom-up demolition of the existing building is well underway, with preliminary construction work taking place in the foundations.
Outlook: With early construction work already underway, this one's a dead cert.
20 Fenchurch Street (Walkie Talkie)
160 m, 36 floors
Although significantly shorter than its brethren, the Raphael Vinoly's Walkie Talkie should make a similar impact thanks to its unusual profile and closer proximity to the river. The site is currently occupied by a 91 m block from 1969. Bottom-up demolition work has begun.
Outlook: Again, looks likely now full planning permission has been secured. Another one set for a 2011 finish.
With the Beetham Tower at Blackfriars, various projects at Canary Wharf and plenty of other projects around town, London will have a very different skyline when the Olympics roll into town. We just hope they can find enough construction workers.
Full details and discussion on all London's new building can be found on SkyscraperCity's construction forum.