By Staff writer
Tumbling construction costs mean smaller bill for Prince Alwaleed-backed tower
Kingdom Tower, the planned 1km-high building backed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed, will be cheaper to build than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, comparisons show.
The building that plans to steal the title of world’s tallest tower will cost $1.2bn to build, the company said in a statement, a significant drop from the Burj Khalifa’s $1.5bn price tag
"The original construction contract [for the Burj Khalifa] was negotiated with the JV of Samsung Engineering, Besix and Arabtec in January 2005 for $1bn," Eric Tomich, the architect behind the Burj Khalifa, said in February.
“All the big stuff was in, so at the end the building probably cost $1.5bn to $1.6bn, which still I think is pretty good value.”
Initial designs for the Jeddah-based Kingdom Tower show a mixed-used building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, an observation deck and office space, served by 59 elevators.
Media reports earlier this year had suggested that the tower could be as large as 1,600m tall, making it twice as high as its nearest competitor.
Prince Alwaleed told Arabian Business on Tuesday the project would be “transformational”.
“These are the kind of projects l like to do,” he said. “These big projects need vision, strength and guts to do.”
Saudi’s Binladin Group, one of the Gulf state’s largest contractors, was awarded the deal to build the tower.
Designer Adrian Smith, who helped plan the Burj Khalifa while with architect firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said the Middle East’s cut-price labour costs would be a key element in the more than 1km-tall tower’s $1.2bn price tag.
“In the Middle East you have very inexpensive labour, and they work three shifts, so they keep going all around the clock. That helps keep the construction cost low here,” he said.
A report by consultancy EC Harris in July found Saudi Arabia was the cheapest Middle East country to build in, half as expensive as Bahrain and 34 percent cheaper than the UAE.
Once that tower is built, Prince Alwaleed can shift his palace to it. Jeddah won't be a hotspot for next 1000 years as far as real estate industry concerned.
Building in the middle of such a economic downturn will surely help to keep cost under control.
It would be interesting to show what will be the impact on leasable office space, I can imagine this single building will increase the total available space quite substantially. Maybe not a good time to be a landlord in Jeddah.
Wish all good luck.
By building this Tower, Jeddah City will be affectted positivly for many years to come.
This move will enhance the quality of construction in this area especially the infrastructure and roads and Jeddah will be the real bride of the Red Sea .
Success all the way.
I am very curious to know who would invest in the Kingdom Tower. Dubai is a cosmopolitan city offering all kinds of facilities and good service that attracts visitors and investors from around the world.
Shouldn't the Saudis be focusing on and rebuilding their primitive infrastructure that caused the flooding and damaged so many homes and properties earlier this year??!! The Tower can wait!
I don't understand what's the point of building 1km tower in a country which has vast amount of land lying empty. The whole point of tall buildings is to save space, that is not Saudi's problem. I think its more of a ego thing.
Sameer , Dubai did have investors !
Not sure what the Saudis hope to accomplish by this monstrosity, apart from book a few lines in the Guiness book of records. Do you think that this will boost tourism ? Wonder how green this building will end up being.
At the end of the day its about having vision and courage and Prince Waleed has both of them in abudance. There is a reason why he is such a rich man and all of us are mere ordinary people; he is not scared of challenges and building this tower will prove that the Arab is second to none, as he will build what no one has ever managed to build before
beyond certain point all tall buildings are ego things.
They are incredibly hard to maintain and expensive to operate and they put heavy loads on infrastructure, something not so good in Jeddah.
Having said that, this is not my money and they can go and burn it in any way they wish. As long as taxpayers are not footing the bill I am OK with almost anything involving consenting adults.
Hey guys - surprise - the future is under the ground not above it. Its very eco green and a much harder target to hit. No worries about the weather either.