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The Middle East to get its own ‘Shard’

25th February 2013

The Middle East to get its own ‘Shard’

This month saw the opening of the Shard to the public; London’s latest distinctive landmark. The building appears to have made such an impression that it has formed the inspiration for a similar building to be constructed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This isn’t a kind of ‘Shard franchise’, however, that will see similar buildings push their way up the world over. Rather, the Saudi building is looking to make its own mark. At one kilometre high. In case you were wondering, that’s four Shards, on top of each other. 

The good news for UK plc, is that British companies are deeply involved in the project. Mace, the British company that built The Shard, has been chosen to manage the construction of the new Jeddah giant. The London-based company will enter into a joint venture with fellow British company EC Harris, while it is understood that the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) is looking to appoint a quantity surveyor for the project that will also be UK-based. 

No stranger to grand projects, Mace has been involved in the construction of several landmarks, including the London Eye as well as The Shard, currently Europe’s highest building. Possibly none, though, will come close to the £780 million development in the Middle East. 

The one-kilometre-high building will be known as Kingdom Tower, and if all goes to plan, will be due for completion in 2018. Although who knows for how long after that it will retain its world-title, as skyscrapers creep slowly closer to the sky? The completion date will allow the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to retain its crown as the world’s highest building for a few years yet. 

The Kingdom Tower will take its name from Kingdom City, north of Jeddah, which is undergoing a massive £13-billion development. The building is anticipated to have a construction area of more than 500,000 square metres and will overlook the Red Sea. The plans have been designed by Adrian Smith, an American company, and Gordon Gill Architecture. While exact details for the building remain a secret, there had to be something to unveil at the unveiling of the plans by billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, and so it is known that it will house a Four Seasons five-star hotel, as well as apartments, office space and an observatory. 

JEC’s chief executive officer, Waleed Abdul Jaleel Batterjee, said, “the project itself will set the world’s sights on our beloved Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and particularly on Jeddah”.

Tom Lax, of Morgan Pryce, says, “This project will be an event as much as a building. It will be much talked about even before it opens its doors for the first time and there will be more information unfolding over the coming years. It will be interesting to see if, in the meantime, even bigger buildings are planned elsewhere in the world – or indeed in the Middle East.”

Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.


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