Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Indebted Dubai opens tallest building


Dubai's ruler opened the 1.5 billion US dollar tower on Monday. The 828-meter structure, with 200 storeys, surpasses the next tallest inhabited building, Taipei 101 in China's Taiwan, by more than 300 meters.

Emaar properties, developers of the Burj Dubai, say the building delivers a new message: hope for the future.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar properties, said, "The message is very simple, the message is that, you know, we build for tens of years to come. Crises come and go and the world has gone through two years of difficult times. We have some hope and optimism that we must move on and I think this is a message that, you know, this is, I hope that this is the beginning of a gradual move forward."

The developer says the tower is billed as a "vertical city" of luxury apartments and offices. But the gleaming glass-and-metal tower, has now been renamed "Burj Khalifa", after Abu Dhabi's leader. Dubai's neighboring oil-rich sheikdom came to its rescue during the financial meltdown. It provided direct and indirect injections of cash totaling 25 billion US dollars.

With the reality that thousands of jobs have been lost and projects worth billions of dollars have been either cancelled or delayed, it remains to be seen whether the so-called "desert flower" can bloom as gracefully as its developers hope.