Dubai: World's tallest tower to open this year

Completing the structure would give Emaar Properties and its hometown, Dubai, a significant public relations boost.

dubai skyscraper 88 248 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
dubai skyscraper 88 248
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The Middle Eastern developer building the world's tallest skyscraper vowed Monday to complete the tower by year's end, though the exact date remains uncertain. Completing the spindly structure, visible for kilometers around, would give Emaar Properties and its hometown, Dubai, a significant public relations boost at a time when both are reeling from a severe property slump exacerbated by the global recession. Emaar Properties said in a brief e-mailed statement that the shiny metal and glass Burj Dubai "is scheduled to open this year." "More details on the official launch will be provided in due course," the company said in response to questions. Emaar previously said the more than 800-meter building, whose name in Arabic means "Dubai Tower," would open in September. That deadline now appears in doubt, as parts of its facade still appear incomplete. The developer has kept many details of the project secret, including its final height. Little is known about the amount of work still needed to outfit the building's approximately 160 floors. Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper, citing conversations with two unnamed contractors working on the project, reported Monday that much work remains to be completed and that the skyscraper's opening would be delayed until December. Emaar's profits and share price have taken a beating from falling property prices in Dubai and elsewhere. The company's stock price fell nearly 6 percent to finish at 2.28 dirhams (62 cents) on the Dubai Financial Market after reports of a possible delay to its signature project Monday. The developer last week shut an office overseeing $20 billion worth of real-estate projects in Algeria, citing "a lack of progress which is beyond the company's control." In February, the company's John Laing Homes division in the US filed for bankruptcy protection, citing a weakening demand for new homes. A month later, Emaar said it would run its Indonesian operations from its Dubai headquarters rather than the capital, Jakarta. The developer last year pushed back the opening date of a huge shopping center near the Burj Dubai just a day before the widely anticipated mall was due to open. Emaar is also trying to engineer a merger with three property companies owned by Dubai's ruler.