The sky’s the limit in the race to complete the world’s tallest building between Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
Dubai already has the world’s tallest tower – the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa which gracefully dominates the city’s skyline in glass and steel.
The Burj Khalifa looms over the world’s second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower, which tops out at 632 metres.
With 163 floors, 57 lifts and coming in at $US1.5 billion, the Burj Khalifa has staked a place as the world’s number one skyscraper since the build was completed in January 2010.
Now, the foundations are going down in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for the Kingdom Tower, which is designed to reach at least a kilometre into the heavens.
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Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal has announced that his development company, Kingdom Holding, has US$2.3 billion in the bank to pay for the completion of the 1,000 metre plus building.
So far, only 26 of the planned 252 floors have risen from the foundations.
Construction is expected to end in 2018.
Saudi Arabia is also home to the world’s fourth tallest building – the Royal Clock Tower in Mecca.
Standing 601 metres tall with 120 floors, construction ended in 2012 after the government spent an estimated $1.5 billion on the project.
Although falling short as the tallest building, the tower does have the largest clock faces, measuring 43 metres in diameter. The clocks are so big they can be clearly seen from at least 25 kilometres away.
Dubai still in the race
Dubai has not finished yet.
Developers are hoping to complete The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour to open for the World Expo in 2020.
The tower is expected to be ‘a notch’ taller than Burj Khalifa, but is likely to fall 150 metres or so shorter than The Kingdom Tower.
The tower will mark the site of a gigantic shopping centre.
“The building will define Dubai like the Eiffel Tower defines Paris,” said a spokesman for the developer Emaar Properties.
The tower is unlikely to have any use other than a viewing platform, except for the top 20 or so floors that will contain a hotel, restaurant and viewing platform.