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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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By VitalyTheUnknown on 1/5/2010 9:20:23 AM , Rating: 3
The fun thing is that this building is completely empty, they just dumped $20B USD in a middle of the freaking desert. You could literary construct small modern town that people would actually occupy.

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.

Funded by you and me.
By Chiisuchianu on 1/5/2010 9:08:06 AM , Rating: 1
"Thanks, America"

RE: Funded by you and me.
By Reclaimer77 on 1/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Funded by you and me.
By smitty3268 on 1/5/2010 1:49:45 PM , Rating: 1
Stay classy.

RE: Funded by you and me.
By Reclaimer77 on 1/5/2010 2:28:23 PM , Rating: 2
Someone argued with me that 911 and subsequent terror attacks were because we " are in their lands and meddle in their affairs ".

My above comment played on that. If it's a just and rational thing to blow up civilian population centers because we were in their lands, am I now justified in doing the same ? Because on 911 our lands were most certainly assaulted.

Food for thought :P

RE: Funded by you and me.
By rmclean816 on 1/5/2010 3:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
are you on crack?

RE: Funded by you and me.
By bupkus on 1/5/2010 10:04:23 PM , Rating: 3
That's your second reference to "crack" in just this one topic.
Are you asking because you're selling?

RE: Funded by you and me.
By rmclean816 on 1/5/2010 11:16:28 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Funded by you and me.
By bupkus on 1/6/2010 2:23:29 AM , Rating: 2
15 words total in 4 posts. Your contribution to discussion and understanding is astounding. If you have something to say, f***in say it. Any idiot can sneer and not really understand a damn thing they're reading.
You are a moron, rmclean816. Care to comment on that, genius?

RE: Funded by you and me.
By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 7:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
Supposing you feel someone is a moron, have you appointed it your life's work to try and correct them all online?

You do realize there is not enough time in one entire lifetime to counter such things? Just as in real life you can't walk up to everyone and *fix* them no matter how hard you try or want to, so stop trying online and learn to ignore, ignore, ignore.

... and by doing that, not only do people who are arguably seen as morons end up getting less time spent on them, the place is less cluttered up as a result too.

RE: Funded by you and me.
By bupkus on 1/6/2010 9:41:35 AM , Rating: 2
Right you are.

RE: Funded by you and me.
By ClownPuncher on 1/5/2010 4:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
By the UAE?

Purely a visceral vent.
By bupkus on 1/5/2010 3:42:49 PM , Rating: 2
I look at the picture of this building and see Arabia boasting its accomplishments and global stature.
This same article (as posted at Search for "World's Tallest Building" if link doesn't work) shows a graph comparing the 5 tallest buildings with the World Trade Towers conspicuously missing.
With my guts turning I feel the jealousy the Arabs have for the success of the West and their own shame. I feel a comparison to the story of Cain and Abel.
Perhaps they wish to be proven God's righteous and what better way than to attack the West and have their successes as proof of God's approval and their stature in the world.
Will Al-Qaeda attack this building? I seriously doubt it. This would be like saying that other Arabs are the same as the Great Devil and it would not increase Al-Qaeda's stature in the Arab world like attacking the most powerful nation in the world.

I'm wondering if I should even post this or just hit Cancel. But as I said, this is a visceral response and not an intellectual argument.

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By rmclean816 on 1/5/2010 3:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
viscerally on crack!

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By bupkus on 1/5/2010 4:49:25 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry, did I kill your Avatar buzz?

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By rmclean816 on 1/5/2010 11:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
what is that even supposed to mean?

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By bupkus on 1/6/2010 2:08:14 AM , Rating: 2
I'm suggesting a preoccupation with the mundane. A distraction from awareness of the deep seated evil targeting us Americans for a dazzling display of 3D special effects served up in a huge helping of Hollywood escapism.
Try renting the film "Islam: What the West Needs to Know" then tell me I'm on crack.
In addition, you asked rmclean816 just a few comments down if he was on crack. What is with all these "crack" comments? Really, dude, what is that even supposed to mean?

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By bupkus on 1/6/2010 2:12:56 AM , Rating: 2
Correction: Reclaimer77, not you. Correction follows.

I'm suggesting a preoccupation with the mundane. A distraction from awareness of the deep seated evil targeting us Americans for a dazzling display of 3D special effects served up in a huge helping of Hollywood escapism.
Try renting the film "Islam: What the West Needs to Know" then tell me I'm on crack.
In addition, you asked Reclaimer77 just a few comments down if he was on crack. What is with all these "crack" comments? Really, dude, what is that even supposed to mean?

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By rmclean816 on 1/8/2010 5:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
don't think too hard on it. You might blow a brain cell.

RE: Purely a visceral vent.
By TerranMagistrate on 1/5/2010 5:01:54 PM , Rating: 3
Good post. And you can be sure that those Arabs (of the muslim variety anyway) were overjoyed at the sight of the World Trade Center towers falling.

And I can say for certain that Dubai will sink back into obscurity just as fast as it rose up, if not faster.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/5/2010 6:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I'd ever really want to do any harm, but your post started me thinking... If we all got together a purchase as many black cat bricks of firecrackers and tied them together so they all go off at the same time. How many firecrackers would it take to move the build... let alone cause one to fall?
OK, I realize getting them all to blow at once would be impossible.. but if that could be done, what 30 semi truck loads??? an wow what a bang that would make.... I saw mythbusters blow a heavy duty cement truck back to god, and that was a sight to see... I can only imagine how much bigger this would be...

Well long life to the build and thankfully I'm not a window washer.

You won't see such buildings in the US anymore
By corduroygt on 1/5/2010 10:47:37 AM , Rating: 3
1. Because you won't find skilled laborers willing to work for $4/day.
2. Because permits and environmental issues will tie up construction and baloon costs.
3. The US is the kind of country they send 4 men and a digger to dig a hole in the pavement, and while one man uses the digger to dig the hole, the other 3 watch.

By superkdogg on 1/5/2010 11:13:56 AM , Rating: 4
But most importantly because it's not cost effective, they can't fill occupancy, and the US has enough landmarks.

By ExarKun333 on 1/5/2010 11:43:11 AM , Rating: 3
Skyscrapers are costly, unsafe during a disastor, and the US has a lot of space to build more "campus-like" HQs in most areas.

By Omega215D on 1/6/2010 5:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
Well, except in NYC. We are quickly running out of space and are building up even higher and that's outside of Manhattan.

By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 7:15:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nonsense. You won't see building like that because buildings like that are not desirable except as an amusement to draw in foreigners. The US needs no such icon in the desert to do THAT, just dropping the border patrol would be more than enough.

As volatile as the US economy is long-term, watch and see what happens in Dubai. It's non-sustainable and a silly tower in the desert won't be anything but a mark of stupidity when they can't afford water anymore and disease is rampant.

it's not 818
By superPC on 1/5/2010 9:02:52 AM , Rating: 2
Standing at approximately half a mile high, the tower's 818 meter estimated height (slightly shorter than the proposed 824 meter original height) easily outdoes the previous record holder

it's 828 not 818.

RE: it's not 818
By JasonMick on 1/5/2010 9:23:53 AM , Rating: 1
That's incorrect... the figure you're referring to is an error on Wikipedia. Wikipedia states:

Burj Khalifa (Arabic: ??? ?????? "Khalifa Tower"),[3] formerly known as Burj Dubai, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft) .

However according to the WSJ, the source the Wiki entry cites:
The building currently stands at just over 2,625 feet. Developer Emaar Properties won't disclose the tower's final height ahead of the opening, although most estimates put it at 2,684 feet , far taller than Taiwan's Taipei 101, which had been the world's tallest skyscraper at 1,670 feet.

And according to Google:

2684 feet = 818.0832 meters

RE: it's not 818
By Chocobollz on 1/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: it's not 818
By axias41 on 1/5/2010 9:39:35 AM , Rating: 2
However according to the WSJ, it's 828m:

RE: it's not 818
By JasonMick on 1/5/2010 11:13:19 AM , Rating: 1
It does say that at one point in the article, but the article goes on to say that is believed to be inaccurate, and gives 818 meters as the likely "true" height.

Officials with the project claim a 828 meter height, but they've not allowed anyone to verify their claims. The 818 meter figure is based on ground based measurements and is likely closer to the truth. Of course they want to claim it's 10 m taller in their multimedia presentation. Maybe it will be at some point, but it doesn't appear to be now.

RE: it's not 818
By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 7:17:01 AM , Rating: 2
Flag pole up, flag pole down?

Austin Powers
By Mitch101 on 1/5/2010 9:14:35 AM , Rating: 5
I picture Austin Powers saying "Do you think he is trying to compensate for something"

RE: Austin Powers
By axias41 on 1/5/2010 9:42:45 AM , Rating: 1

Just build a big fawking thing
By Regs on 1/5/2010 8:32:13 AM , Rating: 1
I don't care what it is. Just as long as it's big and it's a fawking thing.

RE: Just build a big fawking thing
By Regs on 1/5/2010 8:48:00 AM , Rating: 1
No LB fans.

Structurally Sound?
By Rukusss on 1/5/2010 10:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
Just wondering how well this building (and the upcoming Nakheel Towers) will stand up (literally) over time. The Petronas towers and several other recent 'super' buildings are now starting to be causes for concern. The sheer weight of these structures are causing detectable micro-tremors and stress cracks due to their mass. While the Dubai region isn't as geologically 'sensitive' as the Asian rim, it is still a lot of steel, concrete, and glass to be slapping down on one spot.

Fire exit..
By luhar49 on 1/7/2010 5:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't want to get caught on the top floor when the fire alarm goes off.
It would be one looong walk down.

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