RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia unveiled plans Tuesday to build the world's tallest tower (The tallest tower in the world will be built by 2020)— a mixed-use structure that will rise two-thirds of a mile high — in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal signed a $1.23 billion contract with Bin Laden Group for the proposed tower, which will take just over five years to complete. The building is the centerpiece of the planned Kingdom City development being built outside Jeddah by Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding. "Building this tower in Jeddah sends a financial and economic message that should not be ignored," Prince Alwaleed told reporters. "It 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 + Gordon Gill, a Chicago architectural firm, has been selected to design the Kingdom Tower, which will feature a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, Class A office space, luxury condominiums and the world's highest observatory.
When completed, the 1,000-meter-plus (3,280-foot-plus) tower would replace Gulf neighbor Dubai's 828-meter (2,716-foot) Burj Khalifa as the tallest tower in the world. The Burj Khalifa was built by Emaar Properties for a total cost of $1.5 billion. The exact final height is still a closely guarded secret, though it will be at least 173 meters (568 feet) taller than Burj Khalifa.