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Alabbar considers going higher than Kingdom Tower

New supertalls economically viable, says Emaar chairman, even in Dubai

The 1km Kingdom Tower has successfully reignited the pre-recession wanderlust within the market for the development of so-called supertalls.
The 1km Kingdom Tower has successfully reignited the pre-recession wanderlust within the market for the development of so-called supertalls.

The chairman of Emaar Properties has set his sights on building a new contender for the world’s tallest building, according to The National, and the location could be Dubai.

Mohamed Alabbar told the newspaper he was considering building a tower taller than both the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Kingdom Tower currently under construction in Jeddah.

“I think we might try to do something a little taller,” he said. “Technology has really improved. We have learnt how to make money out of tall buildings, and the value of tall buildings in the world has become really important commercially."

Asked about the location, Alabbar said: “Maybe Dubai needs another tall building.”

The Burj Khalifa, built in October 2009, is set to be overtaken as the world’s current tallest building by the 1km-high Kingdom Tower, due to be completed in five years. The Kingdom Tower has been designed by architecture firm Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill, whose principals oversaw the construction of the Burj Khalifa.

It is being built by Saudi BinLadin Group, with EC Harris and Mace group managing the project.

Alabbar has also previously suggested Asia could be a location for another tall building by Emaar.

He also told The National that Emaar was doing its best to try to control flipping in the market, but admitted: “You can never really stop people who flip, that’s part of life, part of business.”

Chaotic scenes were prompted at the developer’s Dubai headquarters in the last few month by eager investors and their representative eager to get a good deal on Emaar’s Mira development. Within hours, many of the units were up for resale , at a mark-up of 37% on the original price.

“With the technology we have, if you flip we will never allow you to buy with us again,” said Alabbar “But of course, people are very smart and they bring in their friends or cousins to buy the next time.”

He added that Emaar is now bringing in a new rule that will require a further payment of 10-20% to flip a property. He also noted that the banks are now asking customers to make large down payments in return for credit.

“Even though we learnt a big lesson four years ago people forget,” he said, reflecting: “Greed is in our DNA.”

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Construction Week - Issue 764
May 31, 2020