Alwaleed signs deal for world's tallest tower
Jeddah, August 2, 2011
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has given the go ahead for the construction of the world's tallest tower in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah by signing a SR4.6 billion ($1.23 billion) contract with Bin Laden Group.
Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and the first construction phase of Kingdom City, Jeddah Economic Company's (JEC) new urban development of more than 5.3 million sq m of land in the north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.
'This project will provide sustainable profits to Kingdom Holding shareholders,' Prince Alwaleed said.
'The vision of constructing the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah belongs to HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who was closely involved in the selection of the scheme currently under design,' said Talal Al Maiman, executive director, Development and Domestic Investments, a board member of Kingdom Holding Company and a board member of Jeddah Economic Company, which was formed in 2009 to develop Kingdom City in Jeddah.
'We were impressed by the boldness and simplicity of the AS+GG design. Kingdom Tower's height is remarkable, obviously, but the building's iconic status will not depend solely on that aspect. Its form is brilliantly sculpted, making it quite simply the most beautiful building in the world of any height,' Al Maiman added.
'The decision of the partners to build the world's tallest building further demonstrates their belief in investing in this nation.'
Five contractors were invited to offer proposals for the Kingdom Tower and a short list of three firms submitted final offers for the tower construction. The Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG) whose offer was the most attractive in terms of price, quality and schedule was chosen for the project.
With a total construction area of over 500,000 sq m, the soaring Kingdom Tower will be a mixed-use building featuring a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, first class office space, luxury condominiums and an observatory that will be higher than the world's current highest observation deck.
The overall estimated cost of the entire Kingdom City project is anticipated to be SR75 billion ($20 billion).
“We intend Kingdom Tower to become both an economic engine and a proud symbol of the Kingdom's economic and cultural stature in the world community,' said Al Maiman.
'Kingdom Tower will be a landmark structure that will greatly increase the value of the hundreds of other properties around it in Kingdom City and indeed throughout North Jeddah.'
The partners of JEC are Kingdom Holding Company, Samaual Bakhsh, Abraar, International Holding Company, prominent Jeddah businessmen Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly and Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG).
The capital of JEC is made up of SR8.8 billion in land value, assets that are SR7.3 billion, plus SR1.5 billion in cash contributed by SBG that further demonstrates their confidence in this extensive project.
'We are confident that upon completion, Kingdom Tower will become one of the world's great tourist destinations as well as one of the most attractive places to live and work in the region,' Sharbatly and Bakhsh said in a joint statement. 'In the meantime, it will create thousands of jobs, spurring the local economy.'
“We envision Kingdom Tower as a new iconic marker of Jeddah's historic importance as the traditional gateway to the holy city of Mecca,' Al Maiman said.
He noted that the southeast leg of Kingdom Tower's tripedal base is on a direct line with the Ka'ba in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.
An interdisciplinary team led by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), based in Chicago, created the design of the Kingdom Tower.
The team also included building services engineering consultants, Environmental Systems Design and structural engineering consultants, Thornton Tomasetti, engineer of three of the world's top 10 tallest buildings.
Jeddah Economic Company selected the AS+GG scheme after a lengthy competition process in which SOM, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli and Foster + Partners also participated.
The AS+GG team's design for Kingdom Tower has been in process since May 2009. Schematic design is complete and design development is under way. Foundation drawings are complete and the piling for the tower is currently being tendered.
The Kingdom Tower complex will contain 59 elevators, including 54 single-deck and five double-deck elevators, along with 12 escalators. Elevators serving the observatory will travel at a rate of 10 meters per second in both directions. - TradeArabia News Service
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