An artist's conception of Nakheel's new development complex  (Source: UK Sun)

Nakheel Towers itself.  (Source: UK Sun)
Yet Middle-East neighbors race to announce even taller buildings.

A Dubai development group has released plans for a colossal skyscraper over a full kilometer in height. The building, dubbed Nakheel Towers after its developer, will be the centerpiece of a new harbor development which Nakheel hopes will become the nation's new “unofficial” capital.

With the current record holder, the 2700-foot tall Burj Dubai, nearing completion nearby, this new structure would dwarf it by more than 600 feet. The building will have over 200 floors and 150 elevators. Special high-speed elevators will be fast enough to allow residents to view a sunset twice an evening: once from the bottom, and again from the top floor. The air temperature at the top floor could be as much as 18 degrees cooler than at ground level.

The entire complex will be home to some 55,000 people, a workplace for 45,000 more, as well as hosting art and cultural developments.

Speaking at a press conference in Dubai yesterday, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, president of Nakheel holding company Dubai World, said the entire project will cost some $38B. "There is nothing like it in Dubai", he said.

Nakheel CEO Chris O'Donnell said he is confident that, despite troubled world financial markets, the firm will have no trouble raising the $5B/year the project requires. O'Donnell said, "when you go about trying to fund a project like this, you have to account for the economic cycles".

Nakheel currently has $60B worth of projects under construction.

Ground breaking has already commenced on the complex according to bin Sulayem. In addition to Nakheel Tower and the harbor development, some 40 smaller skyscrapers ranging up to 90 stories will also be constructed. The complex will be built in phases, and is due for completion in 2019.

The design is said to be inspired by various icons of Islamic architecture, such as Egypt's Alexandria harbor, the Alhambra in Spain, and the palaces and bridges of Esfahan in Iran.

But even as the announcement was made, rumors of a far larger building -- to be built in Saudi Arabia -- began to swirl. The competitor, said to be in pre-planning by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding, may be as much as a mile high, nearly twice as tall as Burj Dubai. The building's site would be in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia

The nation of Kuwait is also working on plans for its own kilometer-high skyscraper, the Burj Mubarak.

Nakheel previously constructed the Palm Islands, a group of artificial islands off the coast of Dubai, built in the shape of a palm tree, as well as ”The World”, an artificial archipelago built in the shape of the planet Earth.

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