It is being planned for a new city near the Red Sea port of Jeddah. Behind the scheme is 51-year-old Prince al-Walid bin Talal, who bought the Savoy for £1.25billion in 2005.
The plan gives the Middle East a clear lead over Asian countries and the U.S., who have vied in the past to construct the world’s tallest buildings.
None of the other skyscrapers under construction, including New York’s Freedom Tower on the World Trade Centre site, will exceed 2,296ft.
Experts say the technical challenges are enormous. Much of the lifting will be carried out by helicopters, which will also be used as commuter transport for builders.
The tower will have to be capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures, with its top baking in the desert sun by day but dropping to well below freezing at night.
To resist the strong winds prevalent in the area and stop it swaying, giving its occupants a form of high-rise seasickness, it will be fitted with a giant computer-operated damper.
Two “mini-towers” – both taller than Canary Wharf – will be built on either side of the main tower.
Linked to it by elevated walkways, they will anchor it and act as stabilisers.
Until recently, the still-under-construction Dubai Tower was expected to be the world’s tallest building.
Plans have changed several times to make it higher, but the final version is expected to be 2,300ft with 160 storeys.
MEED says tenders are expected by August 2008, following an “imminent” final investment decision on the project. A source close to the project told the publication: “It is generally understood that the project is going forward. It has not stopped and we don’t think it is going to be stopped. The prince (Al-Waleed bin Talal) has indicated he is ready.” If this is true and construction does go ahead, then it will be approximately twice the height of the current tallest structure, the Burj Dubai.
However, in May 2008 MEED reported that the project has been scaled back. It could be “up to 500 meters shorter” the article stated. Soil testings in the area recently delayed the first phases of the project casting doubt over whether skyscrapers of significant height can be built in the proposed location.”