Emaar sets sights on Saudi superscraper

Emaar sets sights on Saudi superscraper

The design and build team behind the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is aiming to secure new contacts to build a 1,100m-high superscraper in Saudi Arabi.

The Kingdom Tower would most likely succeed the Burj Khalifa in becoming the world’s tallest tower, and would form the centrepiece of Kingdom City, one of the largest and most ambitious projects in the country

The rising price of crude as well as a fast growing population is buoying confidence in the Kingdom’s property sector.

According to Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, Emaar Properties, the developer of the Burj Khalifa, would take on a consultancy role in the Kingdom City project, working with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the US architecture firm that designed the world’s tallest tower.

If the US firm wins the contract, it will again work closely with Emaar Properties, the developer of the Burj Khalifa, which has taken on a consultancy role for the Kingdom City project.

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“We’re looking forward to hopefully winning the commission [for Kingdom Tower],” said George Efstathiou, a partner at the firm.

The development is being planned by Kingdom Holding, the business conglomerate owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar, said work was continuing on the Kingdom City development, which is expected to provide homes for 80,000 people.

“That’s our specialty,” Mr Alabbar told The National. “The landscape has changed in the region. Customers now want real, true, solid companies. They want value as well. They want track record. We’re in a region where shortage of housing is an issue.”

Kingdom City development, which has been estimated to cost $26.6bn to build, has been planned for several years but progress has been hampered by the global downturn.

But strong population growth has resulted in a property short fall of 2 million homes in Saudi Arabia, and the need for another 1.4 million over the next 10 years, according to a report from the property consultancy CB Richard Ellis. The country’s population is expected to grow by another 33 million by 2020.