(MENAFN - Arab News) Jeddah's Kingdom Tower, set to become the world's tallest building, will be completed in 63 months, according to Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
His remarks came as the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) yesterday announced a capital increase from SR7.3 billion to SR8.8 billion for the mega project that includes the 1,000m high Kingdom Tower.
Prince Alwaleed, who initiated and has been the driving force behind the decision to build the tower, announced an investment of SR1.5 billion from the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) for a 16.63 percent stake in Jeddah Economic Company, owner of the Jeddah mega project.
The Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and the first construction phase of Kingdom City Jeddah -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.
The contract for construction of the tower was signed with SBG for SR4.6 billion (1.2 billion) and the overall estimated cost of the entire Kingdom City Jeddah project is anticipated to be SR75 billion (20 billion).
The Jeddah Economic Company was set up in 2009 to develop the Kingdom City. Its partners are Kingdom Holding Company (a stake of 33.35 percent), Saudi Binladin Group with (16.63 percent stake), Abraar International Holding Company represented by Samaual Bakhsh (33.35 percent stake) and prominent Jeddah businessman Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly (16.67 percent stake).
The final license to construct the tower was formally received from the Jeddah municipality on Feb. 19.
"The vision of constructing the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah belongs to Prince Alwaleed, 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.
"We were impressed by the boldness and simplicity of the ASGG 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," said Al-Maiman in a press release from KHC
"The decision of the partners to build the world's tallest building further demonstrates their belief in investing in this nation."
With a total construction area of over 500,000 square meters, the 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.
"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 other properties around it in Kingdom City and indeed throughout North Jeddah."
A joint statement from Sharbatly and Bakhsh said: "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. In the meantime, we believe this project will create thousands of jobs, spurring the local economy."
In addition to its status as an architectural landmark and economic symbol, Kingdom Tower will enjoy great cultural significance.
"We envision Kingdom Tower as a new iconic marker of Jeddah's historic importance as the traditional gateway to the holy city of Makkah," said Al-Maiman said. He noted that the southeast leg of Kingdom Tower's tripedal base is on a direct line with the Kaaba in Makkah, Islam's holiest site.
An interdisciplinary team led by Adrian Smith Gordon Gill Architecture (ASGG), 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 ASGG scheme after a lengthy competition process in which SOM, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli and Foster Partners also participated.