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.
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
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
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
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.