Saudi: World’s tallest building takes shape – $2 billion Jeddah Tower

The 170-storey building is set to surpass Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s highest building and will feature a hotel, apartments and offices, as well as a large outdoor viewing deck that doubles as an ‘air park’.

As of February 2018, engineers have laid down 66 of the Jeddah Tower’s 170 storeys.

The building, which will remain a concrete and steel skeleton until its windows are added later into the build process, has now climbed to 870 ft (266 metres) of the tower’s eventual height.

Plagued by years of delays and funding issues, it now appears the Jeddah Tower, first proposed in 2008, may finally be on track for completion.

Speaking in January, Mounib Hammoud, CEO of Jeddah Economic Company, told CNN: ‘As of 2020, we’ll start seeing things: You’ll see the tower, you’ll see the shopping mall, you’ll see many other projects.

The skyscraper will stretch more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) above the Saudi city of Jeddah upon completion. Pictured is its foundations in March 2014

Pictured is the building in December 2015
The Jeddah Tower (artist's impression) is set to break the record as the world's tallest building when it is completed next year. Once dubbed 'Kingdom Tower', the 170-storey building is to rise more than a kilometre (almost 3,300 feet), surpassing Dubai's Burj Khalifa as the world's highest building

Pictured is a recent image of the Jeddah Tower, snapped earlier this month

The tower will feature a hotel, apartments and offices. Pictured is its progress as of February 2018. Sixty-six floors of the tower's central spire have been built so far, while 60 floors of the 'wings' that flank it have been completed

WHAT IS THE JEDDAH TOWER?

Saudi Arabia's Jeddah Tower is set to break the record as the world's tallest building when it is completed next year

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower is set to break the record as the world’s tallest building when it is completed next year.

Once dubbed ‘Kingdom Tower’, the 170-storey building is to rise more than a kilometre (almost 3,300 feet), surpassing Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s highest building.

It will feature a hotel, apartments and offices.

Saudi Billionaire Prince Prince Alwaleed bin Talal first announced plans for the tower in August 2011.

He claimed it would take 36 months to build after the start of construction, with an estimated cost of £900 million ($1.2 billion).

By November 2014, a four-storey foundation was in place and Prince Alwaleed said the building would be finished in 2018.

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.

In May 2017 it was announced the project had been pushed back again to the end of 2019.

As of February 2018, engineers have laid down 66 of the Jeddah Tower’s 170 storeys.

The building, which will remain a concrete and steel skeleton until its windows are added later into the build process, has climbed to 266 metres (870 ft) of the tower’s eventual 1,006 metre (3,300 ft) height.

Jeddah Tower’s construction fits into Saudi Arabia 2030, a government plan that aims to diversify the economy in the kingdom and reduce its dependence on oil.

‘Jeddah is going to be repositioned on the international scene of modern cities,’ he adds. ‘You speak about downtown Dubai – and now we’re going to have downtown Jeddah.’

Costs for the project had originally been estimated at around $1.2 billion.

But delays and an oil price crash have skyrocketed the total cost to at least $2 billion.

The Tower is being funded by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who chairs Kingdom Holding Co whose affiliated Jeddah Economic Company is developing the spire-topped landmark.

The 170-storey building is set to surpass Dubai's Burj Khalifa as the world's highest building and will feature a hotel, apartments and offices, as well as a large outdoor viewing deck that doubles as an 'air park'

Plagued by years of delays and funding issues, it now appears the Jeddah Tower, first proposed in 2008, may finally be on track for completion

The City is an urban project surrounding the tower in the Obhur area north of Jeddah.

The project contractor Saudi Binladin Group was among construction firms in the kingdom that suffered heavy financial losses after a collapse in oil revenues in 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.

Binladin Group late last year said it had completed payment to 70,000 laid-off employees.

Prince Alwaleed first announced plans to build 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 Prince Alwaleed said the building would be finished in 2018.

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.

Prince Alwaleed announced in May 2017 that the project had been delayed again until 2019.

Kingdom Holding has shares in the Euro Disney theme park, Apple, News Corporation and US banking giant Citigroup, among other firms.

Prince Alwaleed first announced plans to build the tower in August 2011, saying it would take 36 months to build after the start of construction

Pictured is a model of the building

'The project was delayed... but it'll open (in) 2019,' Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (pictured) told AFP during a visit to the site beside the Red Sea in May 2017

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