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The Burj Dubai, the world's tallest skyscraper, opened to the public Monday.  (Source: Wall Street Journal)

The opening was capped by an impressive nightime lightshow, complete with 10,000 fireworks.  (Source:
New tallest building easily surpasses the previous giant's 500+ meter mark

The Burj Khalifa ("Khalifa Tower" in Arabic), formerly known as Burj Dubai, is a marvel of modern engineering and architecture.  Under construction since September 2004, the massive tower was finally completed this year and on Monday opened to the public for the first time, allowing it to officially claim the title of the world's largest supertall building.  The world is now free to marvel at the tower which is located in Dubai.

Standing at approximately half a mile high, the tower's 828 meter estimated height easily outdoes the previous record holder -- the 509 meter Taipei 101, located in Taiwan.  The new record holder's principal builder was the South Korean Samsung C&T, who also built the Taipei 101 and the Petronas Twin Towers.

The tower features nearly 3.6 million square feet and cost the Dubai sheikdom an estimated $20B USD.  The building project was masterminded by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the city-state's 60-year-old hereditary leader.

Saud Masud, head of research at UBS AG in Dubai said the tower was designed to help Dubai "stay in the limelight as home to a global landmark."

Hopes are high amid trouble in the region.  Worldwide, the sheikdom has garnered criticism for its profiteering on high oil prices in the 90s and current decade.  At the same time it suffered substantial loss of wealth during the recent recession with November bringing the announcement that one of nation's largest government-owned conglomerates could not repay its debts, news that sent shockwaves through the global investing economy.

Despite over $80B USD in debt and the expectation that Dubai real estate prices could drop 30 percent in 2010, after falling 50 percent in 2009, the sheikdom is looking to spare no expense at the tightly secured grand opening ceremony today.  The opening ceremony is said to involve 10,000 fireworks.

While Dubai has suffered financially, its southern neighbor Abu Dhabi has thrived, wisely reinvesting oil profits and largely weathering the recession.  Sheik Mohammed turned to Abu Dhabi for financial assistance.  The fellow emirate lent Sheik Mohammed an undisclosed amount, helping to reduce his emirate's debt burden and continue with ambitious construction projects like the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai now turns its attention to the upcoming Nakheel Towers, a new skyscraper, currently under construction, which aims to reach 1 kilometer high.  A similar kilometer-high tower, the Burj Mubarak is being built in Kuwait.

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RE: Money
By BZDTemp on 1/5/2010 9:23:02 AM , Rating: 1
!?! Do you have a source?

It's my understanding that 90% of it's space is sold so that sounds like a success to me.

RE: Money
By VitalyTheUnknown on 1/5/2010 9:33:12 AM , Rating: 5
Read "the dark side of Dubai".

These numbers that hear from Rashid Al Maktoum are BS.

RE: Money
By bissimo on 1/5/2010 9:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
I've heard that the building is currently an empty shell and the "opening" is something of a publicity stunt. But, according to the BBC, 90% of the space has been sold.

RE: Money
By VitalyTheUnknown on 1/5/2010 10:46:18 AM , Rating: 3
I want to correct you, this is not "according to BBC" it's according to Mohammed bin Ali Al Abbar

Mohammed bin Ali Al Abbar
He is a senior aide to Dubai's Ruler and UAE's Vice President/Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Alabbar serves as the Director-General of Dubai's Department of Economic Development, and Chairman of Emaar, one of the world's largest real estate companies. Alabbar is also a member of the Dubai Executive Council. -Wiki

No surprise here.

RE: Money
By paydirt on 1/5/2010 11:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
At very roughly $500/sq foot to build, I wonder how they expect to see a profit unless they expect to command premium pricing power for all the space?

The decision to build was rather ludicrous unless they did not expect to spend $20B.

RE: Money
By lco45 on 1/5/2010 6:05:49 PM , Rating: 3
It sees a profit the way the Sydney Opera House sees a profit.

In other words, it won't be profitable in itself, but as a landmark it makes Dubai a more desirable tourist destination (at least that's the idea).


RE: Money
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/5/2010 6:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
The roughly $500/sq easy to make up... when you break it down over 20 or 30 years... if building is mostly rented. The real question is what does it cost to maintain the building per square foot? If it costs 5% of build price per year to maintain well now you my never see a profit.

RE: Money
By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 5:37:29 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, over 20 or 30 years there's also interest on the money spent. They could easily go FURTHER into the hole rather than break even or profit.

RE: Money
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/6/2010 11:40:24 AM , Rating: 2
Aaaa think you missed main point - most rooms rented/leased.... $500 per square foot is not a bad price. If you have most of the rooms rented/leased and you are loosing money on a 20 or 30 year loan because of interest. You need to let others make money decisions... The first thing you need to know is do not rent out a room for less then what you are paying... Again main point is most rooms are rented.. if you have less then say 50 or 60% rented then interest rate may come more of an issue. Think about it, if you have a 100,000 sq foot building and pay 100,000 mortgage (principle, interest, tax... and all else). Break even would be just over $1 per square foot (never at exact dollar - something is always there - like common area electrical cost), if 100% of building is rented. You can not plan on break even at 100% - you are planning on profit... so you rent around $2. or $2.5 per square foot. If you have 70% of building rented at $2.00 a square foot (which should already cover interest) and you are losing money from interest rate, you really do not know what you are doing...
If you have only 30 or 40% rented then the interest rate is not your big problem.

RE: Money
By BZDTemp on 1/5/2010 6:34:41 PM , Rating: 1
Considering I live in a normal 2nd store apartment which cost me aprox. $400/sq foot in a nice but exceptional area the $500 you mention seems okay.

RE: Money
By EasyC on 1/6/2010 12:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
Where the hell are you living? I just bought a contemporary house with 1900 sq ft, and it didn't cost me anywhere near 760,000$ in a nice, expensive area of the country.

RE: Money
By Mojo the Monkey on 1/6/2010 2:00:05 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe he is in a high-demand downtown area and you're in a cookie-cutter-burb.

RE: Money
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/6/2010 3:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
that would be dirt cheap in down town Chicago off of LSD. (lake shore drive). For many of the suburban towns it would just be a little higher then normal, not much higher though. Of course in several suburban towns of Chicago it would be very high...

RE: Money
By DEVGRU on 1/5/2010 2:24:50 PM , Rating: 5
Awesome story Vitaly, thanks for the link!

To bad that all that money still can't buy freedom or happiness it seems.

RE: Money
By JTKTR on 1/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: Money
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/5/2010 11:43:22 AM , Rating: 2
90% of the condo space ONLY has been sold.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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