HomeBiggest projectsProject TimelinesJeddah Tower the tallest building in the world that has never been...

Jeddah Tower the tallest building in the world that has never been completed

The Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, is expected to be the tallest building in the world, knocking Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa off its throne. Previously know as the Kingdom Tower the project is currently on hold and so it may be a while before this dream is realised. Funding issues, arrest of its owners in a purge in Saudi Arabia in 2017, board room shifts and the Covid 19 pandemic created a perfect storm that ground the project to a halt. The building currently stands forlorn on its site north of Jeddah.

The Jeddah Tower is planned to be the world’s first 1km high building, and the centerpiece and first phase of a development and tourist attraction known as Jeddah Economic City. The design, created by American architect Adrian Smith, who also designed the Burj Khalifa, incorporates many unique structural and aesthetic features. The creator and leader of the project is Saudi Arabian prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

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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, who 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 project 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. 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 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.


Resumption of construction works was made impossible by the Covid-19 pandemic. To date the project is on hold

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Dennis Ayemba
Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya



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