By Joanna Hartley
A soft opening of the world's tallest tower is set to take place on Sept. 9.
Burj Dubai, the world's tallest man-made structure, will see a "soft opening" on Sep. 9 this year in tandem with the launch of Dubai Metro, it was reported Sunday.
"The target is to have the event coincide with the opening of the Metro on 09/09/09," a person close to the matter told UAE busines daily, Emirates Business.
"There is still work to be done in terms of finishing the building," the person said. "This includes the access and exit planning as well as connecting the sewerage lines to the main network."
These issues are being addressed to ensure optimum working of the building before final occupancy, the person said.
Developer Emaar Properties has not commented on the issue.
The comments come days after Abdul Majid Al Khaja, CEO of the Rail Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority revealed that they were going to start trialing trains along the Red Line of Dubai's Metro from Jebel Ali Industrial Area to Rashidiya in May.
The Red Line service would be open to the public on Sep 9 this year, while it would operations on the Green Line were scheduled to start in March 2010, Al Khaha confirmed.
The groundbreaking for Burj Dubai took place in Sep. 2004 and completion was projected by late 2008. In June 2008, Emaar chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar said in a statement: "We believe that a completion date of September 2009 is possible and reasonable for a project of this global magnitude and significance."
Burj Dubai has risen to its final height of 818 metres, a project contractor told this newspaper in a recent interview. The spire was erected in the third week of December. Since then, a beacon has been installed at the top, usually the final topping-out of a tower.
When completed, Burj Dubai will meet all four criteria listed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which classifies the world's tallest structures. CTBUH measures the height of buildings to the structural top, the highest occupied floor, the top of the roof and the tip of the spire, pinnacle, antenna, mast or flagpole.
Contractor Besix said it is working to complete the work on schedule. "We signed a new agreement with Emaar Properties last year and they gave us an extension of time to complete the project in 2009," said Didier Bosredon, Deputy Project Director at Besix.
"The 154th floor will house the office of the Emaar chairman. The façade is still not finished and work is in progress," he said.
Besix is working jointly with Samsung and Arabtec as the main contractors on Burj Dubai.
The tower will have an observation deck on Level 124, which will offer visitors a bird's-eye view of the city and beyond.
Burj Dubai is part of the $20 billion (Dh73.47bn) Burj Dubai development, which includes a shopping mall, hotels and a variety of residential buildings.
We are still recovering from the Burj Dubai 2008 New Year party which was announced as "100% guaranteed" in 2007... Scores of visiting friends from abroad were dismayed that the promised party never took place. I don't think they'll be back in September, or ever again for that matter.