The Middle East is fast becoming the new home of the tallest buildings in the world. Two years ago, Dubai changed expectations from skyscrapers when it built the Burj Khalifa, a building that is 2,717 feet tall. Now, neighboring Saudi Arabia wants to compete. A $1 billion contract is already in place to build the Kingdom Tower, a building that will soar to 3,281 feet in height. The Saudis seem eager to transform their nation into another glamorous destination, a la Dubai. Skyscrapers and artificial islands appear to be the new status symbols in the oil-rich Middle East. And the upcoming Kingdom Tower is set to become yet another symbol of the region’s economic success.
The Kingdom Tower is set to come up on the outskirts of Jeddah. In charge of the project is Kingdom Holding Co., an investment firm run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The company inked a $1.2 billion agreement with the Saudi Binladen Group to execute this towering project. The property is a great testimonial for the country for it indicates that the region has grown to become a strong investment destination. Talal al Maiman of the Kingdom Holding Co. said that plan for the upcoming skyscraper to become “an economic engine” as well as become a symbol of the country’s “economic and cultural stature” in the world.
The Kingdom Tower is going to be huge. The interiors will cover 5.38 million square feet of space. The 157th floor is set to be the big attraction, thanks to the presence of an observation deck. I am pretty sure, the scene will literally be heavenly from up here.
According to reports, the new building is set to come up by 2016. The Chicago-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture have been hired to design the Kingdom Tower. No compromises are being made here. The tower is slated to be part of the initial phase of Kingdom City. The latter will be a planned city costing $20 billion and spread across a two-square mile area. This urban development project has been in the pipeline for a long time. The idea was first mooted back in 2008, when the global recession was in full swing.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been aggressively pursuing urban development projects. The country is known to extensively rely on foreign workers in professional areas. The new urban projects, which have their focus on building big economic cities and creating more jobs for Saudis, are the country’s attempt to improve its economic stature. The country may be OPEC’s largest exporter, but it is now attempting to become an all-round economic power. Recently, the authorities spent billions of dollars on building a science and technology university. The idea is to become the science and tech hub in the Gulf region. The glitz and glamour notwithstanding, Saudi Arabia is dedicated to improving the lot of residents belonging to the low income group. $120 billion has been set aside to create jobs and housing for this segment of the population.
Of course, the Kingdom Tower with its soaring designs grabs the headline. But the nation of Saudi Arabia has big plans for greater economic success.