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Dubai hosts a fifth of the tallest 100 towers

The title of Tallest Residential Building also exchanged hands twice in 2012, with both recipients located in the Dubai Marina

Image Credit: Gulf News archives.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (right on the beach side) and Jumeirah Lake Towers (on left), during the Dubai Aerial Shoot.
Gulf News

Dubai: A fifth of the world’s tallest 100 towers are currently located in Dubai, according to a latest report issued by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

Four of the six tallest buildings completed in 2012 were in Dubai, including the world’s tallest hotel, the 355-meter JW Marriott Marquis, the report released on Thursday, said. The second of the twin JW Marriott Marquis tower will open later this year – doubling its existing room inventory to 1608.

Rose Reyhaan Rotana Hotel, the 72-storeyed tower on the Shaikh Zayed Road had earlier held the title of the world’s tallest hotel tower since its opening in January 2010.

The title of Tallest Residential Building also exchanged hands twice in 2012, with both recipients located in the Dubai Marina.

“Early in 2012, 23 Marina earned the title of world’s tallest residential building at 393 meters. A few months later the 413-meter Princess Tower completed construction, taking the title of world’s tallest all-residential building,” said the CTBUH report.

Prior to this, the title of the world’s tallest residential tower was held by the 337-metres-tall ‘The Torch’ tower.

“The four tallest residential buildings in the world are now located in Dubai,” the report, released last week, showed.

With this, Dubai has reinforced its position by hosting 20 of the world’s tallest 100 towers within one city.

Dubai, which already had the distinction of hosting the world’s tallest tower – Burj Khalifa, along with the world’s tallest residential tower and the world’s tallest all-hotel tower, has consolidated its position as the ‘City of Towers’ by increasing the height of towers in each category last year.

“Dubai continues to be a significant market for tall building construction, despite the much-publicised drop-off in development after 2008,” CTBUH said in the report. “The average height of these four buildings was 385 meters; in contrast to an average of 310 meters for the four buildings completed in Guangzhou and an average of 319 meters for the five buildings completed in Makkah.”

Dubai, which boasts the world’s tallest building, the 828-meter Burj Khalifa, did not have a single building over 200 meters before 1999.

In 2012, several new projects were proposed by the government, although 25 projects taller than 400 meters have been either stalled or cancelled in Dubai, according to data tracked by the CTBUH.

Despite all the hullaballoo, $614 billion worth of projects are currently in the pipeline in the UAE, according to a latest report by Citigroup, part of the $2.59 trillion pipeline in the GCC, Iran and Iraq.

Heidy Rehman, Senior Equity Research Analyst (Director) at Citigroup, says, “For the UAE, the focus is now on a potential revival in Dubai. While real estate development spend is rising we believe the key bottleneck for the emirate remains financing.”

Early stage projects are up 17 per cent to $655 billion in the Middle East and North Africa, he said mostly driven by the UAE (+127%).

“The UAE has added a $110 billion real estate project in Dubai,” Rehman says.

Two towers in Abu Dhabi – Etihad Tower and Sky Tower – also featured in the report, although the biggest inclusion was the 601-metres Makkah Clock Tower, which is now officially the world’s second tallest tower after Burj Khalifa.

“Interestingly this is the first period since thr first quarter of 2010 that the UAE has shown growth,” Rehman says, refering to the surge in project construction in the UAE.

“The market is up 6 per cent year-on-year to $614 billion. This is driven by the recentlyannounced Dubai mega real estate projects.”

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has not been known for significant numbers of tall buildings, but that is changing.

Seven buildings taller than 200 meters were completed in 2012, including the Makkah Clock Tower Hotel. Makkah completed more buildings over 200 meters than any other city in the world in 2012.

The Makkah Clock Tower is part of the Abraj Al-Bait complex, which features seven buildings taller than 200 meters.

Four more of the towers in the project completed in 2012, the 265-meter Zam Zam Tower and the Hajar Tower, which is also listed at 265 meters.

Global tower density

As many as 66 buildings taller than 200 meters were completed during 2012, the third most in history, but down from the 82 finished in 2011.

With the addition of 66 buildings in 2012, the global number of buildings taller than 200 meters has almost tripled since 2000, increasing from 263 to 756 at the end of 2012, the report said.

“The recent slowdown in the West was partially offset by tall building construction in the Middle East and Asia, particularly China,” it said.

“In total, 35 buildings taller than 200 meters were completed in Asia in 2012 and 16 in the Middle East. In contrast, six were completed in North America, including only two in the United States, which once dominated tall building development.”

Twelve of the 66 buildings completed in 2012 broke onto the list of the Top 100 tallest buildings in the world, representing a 12 per cent change in the tallest 100 in a single year.

“Although the pace of completions slowed in 2012, there is no indication of a tall building construction slowdown,” a CTBUH spokesperson said. “As 2012 closes, the industry is on the cusp of another burst of tall building development. In total, there are 437 buildings taller than 200 meters under construction globally. It is likely the 2013 completion total will set a new record for tall building completions, surpassing the 2011 total.”

Of the projects under construction, 59 will join the list of the 100 tallest buildings in the world; eight will likely make the top 10.

“Despite the economic crisis, tall building construction is still an important driver for the revitalisation of fast-growing urban centers around the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East,” the report said.

At the same time, cities in Europe, South America and Africa are looking to grow vertically, while smaller markets like Panama City and Abu Dhabi continue to complete projects.

“The need to create efficient, high density districts for people to live and work is pushing skylines higher, and there is no evidence that those factors will subside any time soon,” CTBUH concludes.

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