Jeddah's 1km tower to be managed by London Shard firm

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An artist's impression of the Kingdom Tower project. (Credit: Jeddah Economic Company/Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

An artist's impression of the Kingdom Tower project. (Credit: Jeddah Economic Company/Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture)

The builder of The Shard skyscraper in London will be the project manager for the planned US$1.2bn, 1,000m Kingdom Tower skyscraper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Mace will manage the development in a joint venture with construction consultant EC Harris, part of Dutch group Arcadis, and the tower will be built by Saudi construction firm Bin Laden Group.

The tower's height will exceed a kilometre - precisely by how much is a secret but the structure will take over from Dubai's 828m tall Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest skyscraper.

Plans were unveiled 18 months ago by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as the centrepiece to the Kingdom City development in Jeddah, a major Red Sea port.

"One of the reasons we hired them is they are going to use the same team that was on The Shard," Waleed Abduljaleel Batterjee, CEO of developer Jeddah Economic Company, told British trade magazine Building.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is undertaking multi-billion dollar projects to improve its infrastructure and meet its massive housing needs, spending over US$400bn in the five years to 2013 in addition to more than US$130m in social spending.

Jeddah, the country's second largest city with around four million residents, has long complained of neglect.

Firms will "start mobilising" in April and construction work should start by the middle of the year, Batterjee said.

Construction will take just over five years and the tower, to include a hotel, serviced apartments and luxury condominiums, will be more than three times taller than the 308m tall Shard when complete in 2018.

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