Jeddah Tower, previously known as Kingdom Tower and Mile-High Tower, is a skyscraper under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at a preliminary cost of SR4.6 billion (US$1.23 billion). If completed in 2020 as planned, the Jeddah Tower will reach an unprecedented height, becoming the tallest building in the world as well as the first structure to reach the one-kilometre-high mark.
It is the centerpiece and the first phase of an SR75 billion (US$20 billion) proposed development known as Jeddah Economic City that will be located along the Red Sea on the north side of Jeddah. The development of Jeddah Tower seeks to bring great changes in terms of development and tourism to the city of Jeddah,which is considered the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia.
Initially planned to be 1.6 km (1 mile) high, the geology of the area proved unsuitable for a tower of that height. The design, created by American architect Adrian Smith, who also designed Burj Khalifa, incorporates many unique structural and aesthetic features. The creator and leader of the project is Saudi Arabian prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the wealthiest man in the Middle East,a grandson of Ibn Saud, and nephew of the Kings of Saudi Arabia before him. Al-Waleed is the chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC),which is a partner in the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), which was formed in 2009 for the development of Jeddah Tower and City.
Reception of the proposal has been highly polarized; it has received high praise from some as a culturally significant icon that will symbolize the nation’s wealth and power, while others question its socioeconomic motives, and forecast that it will have negative financial consequences.
As of 22 October 2017, 56 floors have been completed, and the central core containing elevator shafts and stairwells has reached level 63.
The building has been scaled down from its initial (about one mile) proposal, which was never fully designed, to a height of at least 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) (the exact height is being kept private while in development, similar to the Burj Khalifa). At about one kilometer,the Jeddah Tower would still be by far the tallest building or structure in the world to date, standing 180 m (591 ft) taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Jeddah Tower’s 50-hectare (120-acre) plot with surrounding buildings will be the first of a three-phase Jeddah Economic City development. The three-phase project proposed for a large area of undeveloped waterfront land with an area of 5.2 km2 (2.0 sq mi).It was originally planned to cover 23 km2 (8.9 sq mi) and cost SR100 billion.The area is located roughly 20 km (12 mi) north of the port city of Jeddah. Jeddah Economic City was designed by HOK Architects,and is estimated to cost at least SR75 billion (US$20 billion) and take around ten years to build.
The development is envisioned to grow into a new district of Jeddah.The second phase of the project will be the infrastructure development needed to support the city, and the third phase has not yet been revealed.
The focal point of the development and Jeddah Tower’s primary use will be to house a Four Seasons hotel, Four Seasons serviced apartments, Class A office space, and luxury condominiums. The Tower will also have the world’s highest observatory.Although the Jeddah Economic City plot is nearly isolated from the current urban core of Jeddah, no land tracts of such size were available closer to the city.Northward is generally considered the direction in which the city will spread in the future.
The primary design of Jeddah Tower is Chicago-based architect Adrian Smith of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS + GG),the same architect who designed the Burj Khalifa while he was working for Skidmore, Owings & Merill (SOM),for which he worked almost 40 years.AS + GG was formed in 2006 by Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill, and Robert Forest.The development of the tower is being managed by Emaar Properties PJSC.Thornton Tomasetti has been selected as the structural engineering firm,and Environmental Systems Design, Inc. (ESD)is a part of the AS + GG design team that serves as the building services engineering consultants.
On 2 August 2011, it was publicly announced by Kingdom Holding, the investment company, that a contract had been signed by Saudi Binladin Group (SBG), that construction was going to start soon, and that the tower was expected to take 63 months to complete.
Besix Group (Belgian Six Construct), which constructed the Burj Khalifa, was previously considered for the contract, but did not win, partially because SBG invested in Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), contributing SR1.5 billion (US$400 million) towards the development of the project, and holding a 16.6 percent stake in Jeddah Economic Company.Besix admitted in 2010 that they expected Binladin Group to win the contract. Jeddah Economic Company is a closed joint stock company (PJSC) formed in 2009 as a financial entity for Jeddah Tower and Jeddah Economic City. It is made up primarily of financiers (stakeholders) Kingdom Holding Company (33.35%), Abrar Holding Company (33.35%), which is owned by Samaual Bakhsh, and businessman Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbately (16.67%), as well as the tower’s own contractor, Saudi Binladin Group (16.63%).JEC’s assets have a book value of nearly SR9 billion, broken down between a land bank of over 5,300,000 m2 (57,048,725 sq ft) (the Jeddah Economic City plot) with a value of SR7.3 billion that will be used as collateral to attain bank loans, and SR1.5 billion in cash. Kingdom Holding is an investment company founded in 1980 and 95% owned by Prince Talal that has assets valued at over $25 billion, with interests in many major companies such as Walt Disney, Pepsico, Kodak, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Time Warner, Newscorp, Pinnacle Infotech Solutions and Citigroup, as well as real estate in London through its Songbird Estates division.