Construction work on the Nakheel Tower in Dubai, destined to become the world’s tallest when completed, has been stopped for a year, it was revealed on Wednesday.
Several labourers working on the ambitious project have been laid off as progress has been "stopped until further notice".
“Further work on the foundations of Nakheel Harbour and Tower will commence in 12 months. The foundation works are likely to take approximately three years to complete,” a Nakheel spokesman said in comments published by UAE daily The National.
A senior project manager told the paper that several employees had lost their jobs because “work has stopped until further notice”.
The tower plan is set to be the centrepiece of a 270-hectare marina development called Nakheel Harbour and Tower near Ibn Battuta Mall and the Arabian Canal in Dubai.
With 200 floors and 150 lifts, it is expected to soar to more than 1km high and take 10 years to complete in phases.
Nakheel announced late last year that it was delaying several of its flagship projects, including the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in addition to axing 500 jobs amid the global financial crisis.
The developer said the Frond N villas, Gateway Towers and the Trump tower on the Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands the developer is building off Dubai's coast, would all be delayed.
The company said much of its Waterfront project, a series of man-made islands set to be twice the size of Hong Kong, would also be pushed back.
Nakheel said work would continue on Madinat Al Arab, Venetto, Badra and the Canal District, but areas of the project, including construction of six man-made islands, would be put on hold.
The Universe, a series of man-made islands in the shape of the sun, the moon and the planets that wraps around Nakheel's The World project, has been delayed, the company said, with work restricted to preliminary engineering studies.
On the Palm Jebel Ali, the second largest of the three Palm islands, Nakheel said work on the fond villas and infrastructure for the crescent would continue, while other phases would be delayed.
It did not give details of how long any of its projects would be delayed for.
Nakheel said work on all other projects - which include The World man-made archipelago and Palm Deira, the largest of the Palm islands - would continue as planned.
The UAE's construction and real estate industry has been hit hard with Aldar Laing O’Rourke, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s largest developer and a British construction company, announcing last week it was cutting up to 250 jobs because of the changed economic environment.