Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower set to become world’s tallest building
The completion date for the world’s tallest tower has been pushed back to 2019, a Saudi Arabian billionaire said – almost six years after launching the record-breaking project.
The Jeddah Tower is to rise more than a kilometre – almost 3,300 feet – above the desert, making it taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The building will feature a glass-floored, circular “sky terrace” at a height of 610 metres
“The project was delayed… but it’ll open (in) 2019,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told AFP during a visit to the site beside the Red Sea. Alwaleed chairs the Kingdom Holding Company, whose affiliated Jeddah Economic Company is developing the spire-topped landmark. The Kingdom Tower, as it is also known, will accommodate the world’s highest observatory and be a mixed-use building with a gross floor area of 245,000 square metres. This will include offices, a 200-room Four Seasons Hotel, 121 serviced apartments and 360 residential apartments.
The project contractor Saudi Binladin Group was among construction firms in the kingdom that suffered financially after a collapse in oil revenues from 2014.
The company, which has developed other prominent buildings in Saudi Arabia, was founded more than 80 years ago by the father of deceased Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Alwaleed first announced plans for the tower in August 2011, saying it would take 36 months to build after the start of construction. By November 2014, a four-storey foundation was in place and Alwaleed said the building would be finished in 2018. The foundations is 60metre deep to cope with saltwater from the ocean. The finished building will contain 200 floors
But that was before the kingdom felt the full force of a drop in oil revenues.In November 2015, Kingdom Holding said Jeddah Economic Company had reached a financing deal with Saudi Arabia’s Alinma Investment to finish the Jeddah Tower, which then had 26 floors.
Alwaleed rode a construction elevator up 30 floors to meet reporters in the concrete shell of the building, which already offers spectacular views over the rest of Jeddah and the adjacent sea.
Kingdom Holding has shares in the Euro Disney theme park, Apple, News Corporation and US banking giant Citigroup, among other firms.
“With this deal, we will reach new, as yet unheard of highs in real estate development,” said Mounib Hammoud, chief executive officer of Jeddah Economic Company, the owner and developer of the Jeddah Economic City project, “and will fulfil the company’s objective of creating a world-class urban centre that offers an advanced lifestyle, so that Jeddah may have a new iconic landmark that attracts people from all walks of society with comprehensive services and a multitude of uses.”
“The overall layout of Jeddah Economic City is designed to accommodate a comprehensive, multipurpose environment, replete with aspects of a modern lifestyle over its 5.3 square kilometres, supported by world-class, state-of-the-art infrastructures.”
The tower’s design, by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, was inspired by the “folded fronds of young desert plant growth,” the company’s website states. “The way the fronds sprout upward from the ground as a single form, then start separating from each other at the top, is an analogy of new growth fused with technology.”
Each of the tower’s three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from the sun while providing outdoor terraces with views of Jeddah and the Red Sea.