Emaar to build tower higher than Burj Khalifa and new ‘mega-retail district’ for Expo 2020

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The architect behind a new US$1 billion Dubai tower that will stand higher than Burj Khalifa says it will represent a nation like The Eiffel Tower.

The Paris landmark was built for the 1889 Paris Expo.

Now Dubai’s Emaar Properties is aiming to emulate that architectural impact as preparations get under way for Dubai’s own Expo 2020.

Emaar Properties will attempt to deliver the new Dubai Creek tower and a linked “mega-retail district” at the same time so that they are both open by the time Dubai’s Expo 2020 event begins .

More project details were revealed by the Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar and the Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava yesterday.

“There’s no doubt that the Eiffel Tower has inspired over 100 years,” said Mr Calatrava. “It represents a city, a whole nation. It still today is a monument. I feel so proud to be part of a team that aims to obtain a similar achievement.”

Mr Calatrava’s design was chosen by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in February following an international competition between five of the world’s top practices.

Mr Alabbar said that the UAE had only 44 years of history compared to Paris, but believed that this as-yet-unnamed tower could serve as a similar landmark in the future.

Although the overall height of the tower, which will cost about $1bn to construct, was not revealed, Mr Alabbar said it would probably “be a notch taller” than Burj Khalifa – currently the world’s tallest tower but due to be surpassed by the proposed 1km-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah in 2018.

The Dubai Creek tower will mainly serve as an architectural tower than a working building, but there will be between 18 and 20 upper floors used for a hotel with restaurants, function rooms, an interior garden space and an observation deck.

The tower is likely to be built under three packages, with one company handling the foundation, another building its concrete core and a third carrying out the fabrication of the steel cables, which will be among some of the longest ever used.

Structurally, the tower will have a concrete core and will be clad in glass and steel. An observation deck will offer unencumbered, 360-degree views of the city. Mr Calatrava said that it will also feature spinning platforms that can take guests outside of the deck into the tower’s void to offer more impressive views.

Work on foundation piling is likely to begin “in late June or early July”, Mr Alabbar said yesterday, with a view to the entire tower being ready in four years.

The 6-square-km Dubai Creek Harbour project is being developed in a joint venture with Dubai Properties.

It features a 4.5km Creek boardwalk and will also house nine lifestyle districts, 22 hotels, a yacht club, marina and a harbour.

Mr Alabbar said that the new “mega-retail district” that will be linked to the tower is currently under the design phase, but should be announced within the next one to two months. When asked if Emaar’s ambition was to complete this element at the same time as the tower, he said: “We are pushing day and night. We would like to finish it together. It would make sense.”


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