Monday, March 31, 2008

Savoy owner plans world's tallest building

The race to build the world's tallest building has reached a new level with plans for a mile-high tower to be built near the Red Sea port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The multi-billionaire owner of the Savoy Hotel in London has unveiled plans for the ambitious £5 billion tower, which will overtake skyscrapers planned or under construction in Kuwait and Dubai.

The Mile High Tower will be double the height of its nearest rival, and will be almost seven times the height of the Canary Wharf tower in London. Visitors will be able to see Africa from the top of the tower, the Sunday Times newspaper reports.

Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding, which is controlled by billionaire Prince al-Walid bin Talal, will invite bids before July for contracts to build the tower in Saudi Arabia's commercial capital. The project will push architecture and engineering to new limits, as the tower must be robust enough to withstand the extremes of temperature and strong desert winds in the region.

Gulf Arab states, flush with funds from record high oil prices, are trying to outstrip each other to build the world's tallest building. They have opened up a strong gap over east Asian countries in the race, with mega-skyscrapers planned or under construction in Kuwait and the booming United Arab Emirate of Dubai.

The Burj Dubai, which is due for completion in 2009, had previously been predicted to take the crown as the world's tallest man-made structure. Prince al-Walid, a member of the Saudi royal family, bought the Savoy Hotel, in the Strand in London, for £1.25 billion in 2005

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