Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Tuesday revealed plans to build the world’s tallest tower in Saudi Arabia.
The billionaire Prince signed a $1.2 billion dollar contract with Bin Laden Group, the construction firm owned by relatives of Osama bin Laden, for the proposed tower in Jeddah. Construction should take five years to complete.
The Kingdom Tower will rise at least 3,280 feet high and occupy 5.38 million square feet, Kingdom Holding said in a statement. The new tower will overshadow Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which currently stands as the “world’s tallest building” at 2,716.5 feet tall.
The exact height of the Kingdom Tower remains a well-kept secret.
Prince Alwaleed said the new tower will be the centerpiece of his Kingdom City development in Jeddah.
"Building this tower in Jeddah sends a financial and economic message that should not be ignored," he told reporters at a news conference.
The Kingdom Tower, continued Alwaleed, "has a political depth to it to tell the world that we Saudis invest in our country despite what is happening around us from events, turmoil and revolutions even."
Adrian Smith, architect who also worked on the Burj Khalifa, and Gordon Gill, a Chicago architectural firm, were chosen to design the tower, which will feature top luxurious amenities.
The designs for Kingdom Tower show a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, Class A office space, luxury condominiums and the highest observatory in the world. There will be 59 elevators and 12 escalators in the building.
Smith said the design for the Tower will be “highly technological and distinctly organic.”
"With its slender, subtly asymmetrical massing, the tower evokes a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground - a burst of new life that heralds more growth all around it,” said Smith.
Groundbreaking is expected to take place at the end of the year.
Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia. Nearly all of the country's 25 million citizens are Muslim. It is illegal for non-Muslims to proselytize in the country and any attempts to convert Muslims to another religion is punishable by death.