Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal unveiled plans on Tuesday to build the world’s tallest tower in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. The Prince has signed a 4.6 billion riyal (US$1.23 billion) contract with Bin Laden Group.
The proposed tower, which will rise more than 1,000 metres and take just over five years to complete, is the centrepiece of the planned Kingdom City development being built outside Jeddah by Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding.
“Building this tower in Jeddah sends a financial and economic message that should not be ignored,” Prince Alwaleed told reporters. “It has a political depth to it to tell the world that we Saudis invest in our country.”
If completed, the tower will replace Dubai’s 828-metre Burj Khalifa as the tallest tower in the world. The Burj Khalifa was built by Emaar Properties for a total cost of $1.5 billion.
The Kingdom Tower will actually cost about $1.2 billion and $20 billion to build out the surrounding “Kingdom City” real estate. The tower, which is to include a hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices, will be designed by US architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.
On its design, Adrian Smith stated in an official press release:
“This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people. It represents new growth and high-performance technology fused into one powerful iconic form. “
“With its slender, subtly asymmetrical massing, the tower evokes a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground – a burst of new life that heralds more growth all around it.”
A “bundle of leaves” is a slight improvement over the Burj Khalifa’s “stacks of Pringles cans” design.
Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, said the Jeddah tower would eventually top 1km, but the final height is a closely guarded secret.
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