In case you weren’t in Dubai last month and you missed Emaar Properties’ announcement that their ‘obelisk’ Burj Khalifa, (the tallest building in the world), has reached completion, we thought we’d tell you all about the party that they threw in celebration!  But is Dubai back from the brink with the launch of this tower?  Well, one thing is certain, Dubai certainly isn’t going down without a fight!

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

The completion of the main structure of Burj Khalifa was made public amidst revelling crowds and majestic displays of lasers, fireworks and fountains – as we have all come to expect in Dubai!  And the final certified height of the building – which had been withheld until the day of the ceremony – was declared to be 828 metres, (2,716.5 feet).  This figure was flashed on to a huge screen projected to an awaiting crowd of about 400,000 people; and the secretive height was revealed in arithmetic progression as the pyrotechnic display left the crowd in awe.  Pretty spectacular stuff!

So, we can now officially state that tower is the world’s tallest structure, a claim that is backed up by the CTBUH – the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  And Emaar Properties certainly threw one almighty party in celebration.  But does this change the property market’s landscape in the emirate, or was it just one almighty smokescreen to deflect attention from the continued economic downturn in Dubai?

The World’s Biggest Everything – Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa ranks as the tallest building in the world based on three important criteria: ‘Height to Tip,’ ‘Height to Architectural Top,’ and ‘Height to Highest Occupied Floor.’  Burj Khalifa is 320 metres taller than the previous record-holder which was the Taipei 101 (which stands at 508 metres high).  It held the record from 2004 – which incidentally was the year that the Burj Khalifa project was announced!

The distinction was attained by the Dubai tower – which beats the North Dakota, USA’s KVLY-TV Tower too (standing at 628.8 metres) – just 1,325 days since the digging work commenced in January 2004.  Burj Khalifa also surpasses the 31-year-old record held by the CN Tower (which is 553.33 metres).  This new Dubai property asset comprises of 142,000 m2 of glass, 39,000 tonnes of steel reinforcing bars and 330,000 m3 of concrete; it has also required 22,000,000 hours of human labour to build!  And let’s not get into the sometimes appalling conditions under which many laboured to get the tower to the point of completion…

The tower also holds other records which include the fact that it has the world’s highest outdoor observation deck (on Level 124); the world’s highest occupied floor (at 550 m); and the tallest service elevator, travelling to the dizzying altitude of 504 m.

Chairman of Emaar Properties, Mr. Mohamed Alabbar, said in a statement: “Burj Khalifa is an example of collaboration on a global scale, and the tremendous positive energy that can be generated when people from all over the world come together to work towards a common goal.  Thousands of professionals and skilled workers from around the world worked on this once-in-a-lifetime project.  More than 60 of the world’s leading consultants including South Korea’s Samsung Corporation and New York-based Turner Construction International realised the design for Burj Khalifa that Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) came up with.”

The latest technological developments on structural systems, wind engineering, construction materials and methods were all utilised in the development of the Burj Khalifa tower: and all the design decisions had to take into account the 12,000 people who will now work as well as live inside the structure.  February marks the beginning of handovers to the prospective residents of the numerous components of the tower, which now figures prominently on the Dubai real estate market landscape as you can imagine.

Burj Khalifa offers almost 2,000,000 ft2 of residential space, 300,000 ft2 of office/business area, and 6,000,000 ft2 of total constructed space – in addition there is the space occupied by the long-expected Armani Residences as well as the Armani Hotel Dubai to take into account.  The structure has countless lifestyle amenities such as fitness and health facilities, clubs, gourmand restaurants and the record-breaking observation deck on the 124th floor, (named ‘At the Top’).  Burj Khalifa tower is now the epicentre of this 500-acre mega-project – and according to Emaar, it’s being revered as the new centre of Dubai’s core.

Does This Colossal Property Project Change Anything in Dubai?

As always the completion of the latest, albeit most impressive tower in Dubai is just about the statistics, it’s the biggest, the tallest, the most expensive, (probably), it boasted the best party, (allegedly), it was built in record time, it’s the most opulent, (maybe), and it’s probably been the one project that Emaar wish they’d never started because it’s almost brought them to the brink of bankruptcy.

The completion of the Burj Khalifa changes nothing in Dubai.  Dubai is still an emirate floundering with economic issues and struggling to maintain the lifestyle all its residents have become used to.  It’s still the favourite haunt of footballers and their long suffering wives when they want to escape media attention, it’s still a fantastic hub for tax free shopping, and it’s certainly a great getaway if you want some winter sun.  Those who love living in Dubai say they’ll never give up the good life – even if they now have to work elsewhere in the world to maintain their home in Dubai because no one’s recruiting in the emirate.

As stated, Burj Khalifa changes nothing – Dubai is still an emirate poised on the brink of economic collapse, being propped up by its neighbours.  An awful lot has to fundamentally change if Dubai is to reverse its economic fortunes and who honestly knows if that will happen.  In the meantime, it has a new landmark you can go and look at if you want to.