Times 2

Saudi Arabia to build world's biggest tower

The $1.2billion structure will be put up by Bin Ladens

The world's biggest tower is to be built for $1.2billion in Saudi Arabia by the Bin Ladens. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he had signed a deal to build the 3,280ft high Kingdom Tower north of the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The sprawling mega project, first announced in 2008, will cover two square miles at its base. It will stand a kilometre high and is the first in a sprawling mega project for a plan called 'Kingdom City'.

It will include a hotel, serviced apartments, luxury flats, and offices occupying around 852 square miles.
Originally, the intention was to build the tower a mile high -- a feat that would mean a 12-minute journey in a lift to get to the top -- but there were fears that the soil would not support its foundations.

Construction company, Saudi Bin Laden Group has been given the contract to build the structure, one of seven ambitious projects in the kingdom which is OPEC's top exporter of oil. The work is intended to diversify the economy from the crude oil that has fuelled the kingdom's growth for years.

It also reflects a continuation of the unstated race between the oil rich Gulf nations that are also pumping tens of billions of dollars into job creation and housing for their lower income residents. In June 2009, KHC signed a deal with Dubai-based Emaar Properties to develop and oversee the construction of Kingdom City and Kingdom Tower.

Emaar, which is partly owned by Dubai's government, is the developer of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world. Alwaleed's proposed skyscraper would shatter the record for Burj Khalifa, which opened in January 2010. That tower has 160 liveable floors and rises 2,717 feet, making it not only the tallest building but also the tallest free-standing structure in the world.

By comparison, the tallest building in the United States, the Willis Tower in Chicago, stands at 1,451 feet, although counting its antenna towers it rises to 1,729 feet. The tower will be 170 metres taller than the current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai It will stand nearly twice the height of New York's Freedom Tower, currently under construction at the site of the World Trade Center The One World Trade Center tower being built in New York on the site of the twin towers destroyed on September 11, 2001, will measure 1,776 feet with its antenna spire. It is due for completion in 2013.

Dubai developer Nakheel had planned to build a tower more than 0.6 mile high in the city-state, but shelved those plans in early 2009 as the global economic crisis soured demand for real estate in the emirate.

The Kingdom Tower deal was signed between Jeddah Economic Co., a KHC affiliate, and the Binladen Group, a construction giant. Binladen will hold 16.6 percent stake in JEC.

© Daily Mail, London

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