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Mile-high tower fit for a prince


With progress being made with the world's tallest tower, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal plans another.

June 18, 2013 8:19 by

It can be quite difficult to keep up with Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Frankly, running a multi-billion dollar empire such as Kingdom Holding Co (valued at $18.5 billion, making it one of the Middle East’s largest investment firms) would be enough to keep anyone occupied. The company is also constructing the world’s tallest tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – with a completion date set for 2017 and a value of SR4.6bn. The prince has recently expressed his happiness with the development and said the process is “progressing as planned”.

Aside from the prince’s real estate ownership around the world and significant equity investments in three international hotel management companies, his assets also include stakes in enormous companies including News Corp, Citigroup and Twitter.

Alwaleed is currently pursuing legal action against US-based Forbes magazine for understating his wealth by approximately $20bn in their annual rich-list. In his words, the magazine created a “deliberately insulting and inaccurate description of the business community in Saudi Arabia.”

Today, a report by Arabian Business has surfaced – indicating that the prince will reportedly take the witness stand in London’s High Court next week over another legal battle where he “allegedly failed to pay a $10 million commission on a $120m deal to sell one of his private jets to former Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.”

It’s fair to say that the 58-year-old businessman has his hands full. And yet, Reuters has today reported that the prince would be looking at some of the world’s largest cities, including Shanghai, Moscow, London and New York, as potential locations to build a mile-high skyscraper that would surpass both Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (828 metres) as well as his own Kingdom Tower in Jeddah (roughly one kilometre).

Alwaleed has invited Dubai-based Emaar Properties (developers behind the Burj Khalifa) and its chairman Alabbar, to team up with Kingdom Holding on the project. “Right now, we are discussing and evaluating the possibility of building a one-mile (1.6-kilometre) tower,” Alwaleed told Reuters by telephone late on Monday.

“I invite Emaar and Mr. Alabbar to join forces with us and see how we can build the ultimate one-mile tower somewhere in the world,” said Alwaleed.

The prince did not specify what the costs would be, when it would be completed or how it would be financed, but he did, in a verbal statement to Reuters, invite the aforementioned major cities to “come and give their offers”. He also stressed that any countries interested in hosting the world’s tallest tower would have to offer attractive financing terms, tax breaks and other government support.


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