The Jeddah Tower construction project is coming back to life after 5 years of non-activity. Reportedly, Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) has invited contractors to bid for a contract to complete the project.
Some of the companies participating in this bid include local companies Almabani, Bawani, El-Seif Engineering Contracting, Nesma & Partners and Saudi Freyssinet. Chinese companies China Harbour, China State Construction Engineering Corporation and Powerchina as well as South Korean companies Hyundai Engineering Construction and Samsung C+T.
Kuwaitian company Mohammed Abdulmohsin al-Kharafi & Sons, Lebanese company Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Sweden and European companies Skanska and Strabag are also involved.
The tendering process is expected to be completed by the end of this year, to be precise the participating companies have been given three months to prepare their bids. The companies are expected to form joint ventures comprising local and international partners.
An Overview of the Jeddah Tower
Jeddah Tower is a skyscraper that was under construction between 2013 and 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The building is planned to be the first 1-kilometre tall building and would be the world’s tallest building or structure upon completion.
Here is all you need to know about the project
1. Where Jeddah Tower is located
The tower is located in desolate terrain approximately 20 kilometres north of Jeddah city centre. The region is planned to be developed into a new district dubbed Jeddah Economic City. Jeddah Tower is the centrepiece and the first phase of this district.
2. Why the name “Jeddah Tower”
When the tower was first proposed back in 2007, it was named Mile High Tower. This name was later changed to Kingdom Tower. In 2015, the tower was given the now-famous name, Jeddah Tower.
The latter was taken from the name of the city where the tower is located in a bid to improve the reputation of Jeddah city. The tower was also named Jeddah Tower because the former name Kingdom Tower would bring confusion as there is another building, Kingdom Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, whose name almost sounds the same.
3. The height of Jeddah Tower
The building was first proposed to be built to a height of a mile. However, a soil test taken in late May 2008 on the project site revealed that the land was not suitable for a building that high.
The exact height of the tower is yet to be made public. Nonetheless, it is said that the tower will be more than 1000 meters.
The tower will thus be the world’s tallest surpassing the current record holder, Burj Khalifa, by 180 meters.
4. Floor distribution
Jeddah Tower will have 167 habitable floors with a total area of 240,000 square meters. If the mechanical floors are counted, the tower has a total of 252 floors.
From the bottom, the first 5 floors of the tower will be used as retail spaces while the 6th to 90th floors will be used for offices. Residential floors start from the 94th floor to the 114th floor while the hotel, which is to be operated by Four Seasons Hotels, occupies the 115th to the 156th floors.
The 157th floor will be the observation deck while the floors above are mainly mechanical floors, but also feature penthouses.
5. The Jeddah Tower project team
The developer and owner of Jeddah Tower is Jeddah Economic Company a joint venture between Kingdom Holding Company, Abrar Holding Company and Saudi Bin Laden Group.
The tower was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS + GG) while Binladin Group is the project’s main contractor. Others involved include Landtech Designs, Subul Development Company, Omrania & Associates and Barton Willmore, Bauer, EC Harris/Mace joint venture and Saudi Water Company.
6. The cost, start and progress of the construction of Jeddah Tower
With a price tag of approximately US$ 1.2 billion, the construction of the tower started in April 2013. It was set to be completed in 2020, after 36 months of construction.
Piling works were completed in December 2013. This allowed for the start of above-ground construction to commence in September 2014.
Work continued however slow and by October 2017, the central core of the tower was at 60 floors. The walls on the other hand were 248 meters. By the end of 2017, the walls reached a total height was 252 meters.
7. The current status of Jeddah Tower
In January 2018, the owner of Jeddah Tower, JEC, halted the project’s structural concrete work. At this time the building was approximately one-third complete.
Nothing has been going on at the construction site since. The building still stands forlorn on its site.
8. Why construction of Jeddah Tower stopped
JEC halted work on the project due to labour issues with the contractor following the 2017–19 Saudi Arabian purge.
Funding issues, board room shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic are also said to have created a perfect storm that led to the project’s halt.
Jeddah Tower Project Timeline
In March, Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS + GG) was selected as the architect.
In early August, the Binladin Group was chosen as the main construction contractor with the signing of a US $1.23bn contract, which was less than it cost to build the Burj Khalifa US$1.5bn.
On 13 August, it was announced that the landscaping contract for the Jeddah Tower was to be awarded to Landtech Designs, a US-based company, which will be responsible for irrigating 3.4 hectares (8.5 acres) of green space by using the latest technology in sustainable irrigation. The supply of water to irrigate the green space would be collected through rainwater.
On 21 September, it was announced that financing for the Jeddah Tower was complete. Talal Al Maiman, chief executive officer and managing director of Kingdom Real Estate Development Co. said in an interview that they have all the investors, all the finance, all the money they need. “It took us beyond 20 months to convince investors, working every detail and aspect of financing,” Al Maiman said.
On 10 October, Kingdom Holding awarded contracts totalling US $98m for the project.
On 21 February, the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) announced that it had appointed an EC Harris/Mace joint venture team to manage the iconic Jeddah Tower project. The team will be providing project, commercial and design management for the Jeddah Tower development
Construction started on 1st April. The piling was completed in December.
Above-ground construction commenced in September.
In late 2017, the owner of Kingdom Holding Co, which owns 33% of the tower, and the chairman of the Saudi Bin Laden Group, which owns 17% and is the primary contractor, were arrested as part of the 2017 Saudi Arabian purge. Construction of the tower continued.
In October the central core of the tower was at 60 floors and the walls were 248m high, as of the end of 2017 a reported height was 252m
Kingdom Holding Company signed a deal with Orange Business Services to provide information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to Jeddah Tower. Construction of the tower moved forward after a short delay.
There was steady progress but building owner JEC halted structural concrete work with the tower about one-third completed due to labor issues with a contractor following the 2017–19 Saudi Arabian purge. JEC said they planned to restart construction in 2020 but this never happened.
The resumption of construction work was made impossible by the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, the project is on hold