Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

THE world’s tallest building abandoned halfway through construction may finally be completed – more than a decade after works begun.

Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Tala’s ambitious plans to construct a one-kilometre-high tower in Saudi Arabia came to an abrupt halt amid an apparent power play between the rich.

HandoutConstruction has resumed on the world’s tallest building left abandoned for years[/caption]

The incomplete structure has long been gathering dust in Jeddh, Saudi ArabiaRex

At its intended future height, the Jeddah Tower will be three times taller than London’s Shard and 500ft taller than the tower which is currently the tallest in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

Sixty-three stories of the mammoth building were constructed between 2015 and 2017, after pilling was completed in December 2013 and above-ground construction started in September 2014.

But progress reached a plateau when two of the project’s main backers faced legal troubles, it was reported.

Key investors Prince Alwaleed and Bakr Bin Laden, and others, were arrested in November 2017 for crimes including money laundering, bribery, and extorting officials, according to Reuters.

Alwaleed was detained in the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh for 83 days, telling Bloomberg after his release that he had come to an “understanding” that was “confidential and secret between me and the government.”

He said: “I will not get into the discussions that took place between me and representatives of the government.”

It was reported he was evasive over claims he paid $6billion to secure his release.

With just 63 of its planned 252 storeys built, and standing just 250m tall rather than 1000m, the tower was left looking more like a gawky skeleton than iconic.

Photographs from 2018 showed an ugly structure of hollow concrete rooms surrounded by orange cranes.

More than five years later, the project is supposedly back on track.

The home page of the tower’s website reads simply: “It’s Happening.”

A number of companies have been invited to make a bid on the building – currently one-third complete – by the end of this year.

It is understood the Jeddah Economic Company commissioned an independent assessment of the building as it currently stands before the companies were invited to bid.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Neom project to construct a mega-city in the desert has gained global attention.

The $500 billion plans are the brain-child of Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, and are aimed at ending Saudi Arabia’s dependency on oil wealth.

Neom will be a Jetsons-style ultra-modern metropolis, in complete contrast to the other very conservative parts of the desert kindom.

Works are also underway on Saudi Arabia’s 110-mile-long sideways skyscraper dubbed “The Line”.

The project worth hundreds of billions of pounds is hoped to one day house five million people in one of the high tech megacity running through the desert from the Gulf of Aqaba.

The tower is supposed to be the crown jewel in a new waterfront development

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