Kingdom Tower go-ahead

By Chris Sleight24 February 2012

AS+GG's design for the 1 km high Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to cost US$

AS+GG's design for the 1 km high Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to cost US$ 1.2 billion to construct. Image © Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

The Saudi Arabian government has granted the final permits to allow construction of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah to go ahead. At 1 km tall, the SAR 4.6 billion (US$ 1.23 billion) sky scraper will be the tallest building in the world, overtaking the current record holder, the 830 m Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE.

The tower will be the centrepiece and the first construction phase of Kingdom City, a new 5.3 km2 urban development scheme in the north of Jeddah. The total development cost for Kingdom City is put at US$ 20 billion.

The sky scraper itself is the brainchild of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairman of investment company Kingdom Holding Company (KHC). KHC is one of the partners in the Jeddah Economic Company, which is the developer for Kingdom City. Other partners include Abraar, International Holding Company, contractor Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG) and business figures Samaual Bakhsh and Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly.

SBG has also been named as the main contractor on the Kingdom Tower. The architect for the scheme is Chicago, US-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG). Mr Smith was responsible for the design of the Burj Khalifa when he worked with architect SOM.

With a total area of over 500000 m2, the Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, office space, condominiums and an observatory that will be higher than the world's current highest observation deck.

"We are confident that upon completion, Kingdom Tower will become one of the world's great tourist destinations as well as one of the most attractive places to live and work in the region," Mr. Sharbatly and Mr. Bakhsh said in a joint statement. "In the meantime, it will create thousands of jobs, spurring the local economy."

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