Saudi Arabia Recommences Construction on the World’s Tallest Skyscraper: Expected to be Over a Kilometer in Height

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After years of delay, Saudi Arabia has recommenced construction on the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Jeddah Tower. Construction has recommenced earlier this week and is set to gain pace as it continues. Formerly dubbed the Kingdom Tower, the skyscraper will stand at 3,280 feet once completed. This is a significant hallmark as it will be the first structure in history to reach over one kilometer in height. The project is part of an ambitious $20B economic investment development near the Red Sea which is one of several mega projects currently underway in the Kingdom. Over the week, the project has commenced steadily as ground works to recommence construction are implemented. The Jeddah Tower is a $1.2B investment project in Saudi Arabia designed by Chicago-headquartered Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture. It will encompass facilities such as various luxury hotels, offices, condominiums, and short-term rentals.

The Scope of Works on the World’s Tallest Skyscraper: The Jeddah Tower

Jeddah Tower derives its name from its location in Jeddah, a major port city along the Red Sea. Jeddah is also attributed as Saudi Arabia’s second-most populous city. Commencing in 2013, construction of the world’s tallest skyscraper halted after the Binladin Group’s primary contractors were removed. This is after the company’s president Bakr bin Laden, stepbrother to Osama bin Laden was arrested as part of an anti-corruption purge.

The project had decided to pick up pace again in 2019 but was further delayed by the break out of the COVID-19 pandemic. When construction had halted six years ago, close to one-third of the construction was completed according to sources close to the project. The building’s incomplete structure and skeleton has loomed over the city of Jeddah ever since. Apparently, though, that is about to change with the recommencement of the project expected to pick up a steady pace over the year.

The Significance of The Jeddah Tower Once Completed

Once completed, the world’s tallest skyscraper will eclipse its Gulf neighbour Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the current holder of the world’s tallest building title standing at 889 meters. The Jeddah Tower will stand twice as high as New York’s Empire State Building and eleven times the height of the Statue of Liberty. It will be taller than the Burj Khalifa by a whopping 500 feet in height. The skyscraper will feature the world’s largest observatory accessible to the public. It will also feature an advanced elevator system comprising 59 lifts that will transport visitors at speeds of up to 33 feet per second.

This means that it will have one of the fastest elevators installed on its premises. According to the architects, the tower’s unique “three-petal footprint” optimizes residential space and window views. Its tapered form facilitates the significant reduction of wind resistance at high altitudes. Once completed, the world’s tallest skyscraper will diversify Saudi Arabia’s tourism market by being a major attraction site. It will also be able to provide employment opportunities to most of the residents in Jeddah and across the globe.

The State of Affairs Regarding the Construction Project

The Saudi government anticipates the structure’s completion within the next four to five years. The world’s tallest skyscraper also seeks to bring in a new contractor set to be announced in the coming weeks. The world’s tallest skyscraper is part of the broader Saudi Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond oil. It seeks to enhance sectors such as health, education, and tourism. The ambitious plan seeks to boost Saudi Arabia’s global image, positioning it as a major economic player on the world stage. It also seeks to ensure this ideology manifests in time for the 2034 FIFA World Cup, set to be hosted at locations across the kingdom.

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