As recently as July 1, cattle apparently grazed in the fields intended for the world’s tallest skyscraper in the rural outskirts of Changsha in China’s Hunan province.

That wasn’t the original plan: Sky City, as the concept is known, was scheduled for completion earlier this year after a mere 90 days of construction.

So on Saturday afternoon, when Zhang Yue — chairman of the Changsha-based Broad Group, which is developing Sky City and, for what it’s worth, owns a pyramid in the Hunanese countryside — touched down on the alleged construction site in his helicopter, reporters and microbloggers took notice. The occasion was the long-delayed Sky City groundbreaking.

The building, he explained, will be built from prefabricated steel and concrete modules, and will rise 202 storeys. That will make it 838 metres (2,749 feet) high, as previously planned — 10 metres higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s current tallest building. It will come complete with malls, residences, schools, a hotel, a hospital and a vertical garden sufficient to feed 30,000 residents. It will also be capable of sustaining a magnitude-9 earthquake.

Sky City, July 2013 edition, will apparently require a modest nine months and 5.25 billion renminbi (roughly $850 million) to complete. Burj Khalifa took five years and $1.5 billion. More info