By Angela Giuffrida

The opening of the Burj Dubai has been delayed for another month so it will coincide with celebrations for the fourth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid becoming the Ruler of Dubai, the developer behind the project said yesterday.

Burj Dubai
Burj Dubai

The tallest tower in the world was scheduled to open on December 2 to coincide with UAE National Day, Mohammed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, told CNN last month.

But Mr Alabbar said yesterday the tower, which was thought to have reached its maximum height at 818 metres this year, would now open on January 4.

“We decided to inaugurate the world’s highest tower during an anniversary that is dear to the hearts of everyone,” Mr Alabbar told the state news agency WAM yesterday. “The Burj Dubai reflects the ambitious vision set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.”

The tower, which is the centrepiece of the Dh73.4 billion (US$19.98bn) Downtown Burj Dubai development, was originally due to be completed in December last year.

But there were setbacks in late 2006 when the original contractor appointed to clad the building’s exterior went bankrupt. That delayed work by about six months.

Arabian Aluminium and its Hong Kong partner, Far East Aluminium, took over the contract and resumed cladding work on the tower in May 2007. The work was completed at the end of September.

Early last year, Mr Alabbar said the building would probably be finished in April this year. But in June last year, the date was again pushed back to September 2009 after revisions were made to the project.

Emaar said in July that the Burj Dubai, which helped overall house prices in Dubai creep up by 7 per cent in the third quarter, would be completed “at the end of this year”.

The last crane at the top of the Burj Dubai came down midway through last month.