By: Bryan Dumas
As we transition into a new decade, the United Arab Emirates continues to assert its fiscal muscle and penchant for ostentatious displays of wealth, despite the economic turmoil that continues to plague most nations. Dubai, the same country that constructed three palm-shaped, man-made islands in the Persian Gulf a few years back introduced its newest architectural feat to the world yesterday in grand fashion.
Towering more than 160 stories over Dubai and the surrounding desert, the Burj Khalifa as it is called is now the tallest building in the world at 2,717 feet. It’s 50 stories taller than the next closest building in Taiwan. For those of you familiar with New York architecture, the Burj Khalifa is as tall as both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building stacked on top of one another.
The building will include a mix of office space, nightclubs, mosques, luxury suites and boardrooms. It will have the world’s fist Armani hotel, the world’s highest swimming pool on the 76th floor, and the highest mosque on the 158th floor. The observation deck on the 124th floor will offer panoramic views of up to 60 miles.
Now I know what you’re asking yourself; “how the hell was Dubai able to afford this undertaking in this global economic downtown?” Thanks to a $10 billion donation from Sheik Khalifa of Abu Dhabi last year, Dubai was able to avoid economic unrest and complete the project. For his generosity, the name of the building has been changed from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa in his honor. The Burj Khalifa has already sold 90% of its space to tenants, but it remains to be seen if it will be the catalyst that revives Dubai’s economy still recovering from the real estate crash a few years ago.
I haven’t made it to Dubai yet, but I’ve heard some good things from friends who have visited. I need to get over there. I think we can all agree that spending $1.5 billion in a global recession to construct the tallest building in the world, and quickly selling out 90% of the space is a power move, any way you slice it. Swagger!