It seems like only yesterday that Dubai developers were hawking $5 million condos on a man-made island shaped like a palm tree, but the global credit crunch has transformed the emirate into a desert of discounted properties, abandoned projects, and shelved ambitions. Hope springs eternal, however, that Dubai will be able to welcome visitors to The World’s Tallest Building—the Burj Dubai—by the end of the year.
“Monument. Jewel. Icon. Burj Dubai will be known by many names,” proclaims the building’s official website. “But only a privileged group of people will call it home.” The helical mega-highrise, designed by Adrian Smith, is expected to hold about 35,000 people on approximately 150 floors. But how tall will the tower climb? And when will they remove the scaffolding, turn on those “spectacular dancing fountains,” and open for business? Burj Dubai developer Emaar Properties isn’t making any promises. “Local media reports now suggest the United Arab Emirates National Day on December 2 as the new deadline, but Emaar has refused to confirm, saying only that it will open ‘this year,’” the Wall Street Journal reported this week. “A handful of cranes still are working halfway up the tower, which stands at just over 2,625 feet. Emaar won’t disclose the tower’s final height until completion, although most estimates put it at 2,684 feet, far taller than Taiwan’s Taipei 101, which had been the world’s tallest skyscraper at 1,670 feet.”