Source:  Bloomberg News

A mile-high skyscraper — almost double the height of today’s record-holder — might be a reality by 2025 as developing countries lavish cash on an ego-fueled race to put up the world’s tallest building.

“If you have enough money, I’m sure the human mind can create a lot higher,” said Timothy Johnson, chairman of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, widely recognized as the world’s arbiter of tallest structures.

“Who are we to say it’s good or bad? People want to push higher and higher. That’s just human nature, isn’t it?”

Planning for the one-mile milestone — imagine downtown Omaha with eight First National Towers stacked atop one another — might start before 2020 and be done five years after that, Johnson said, without giving further details. He spoke at his council’s conference this week in Shanghai, a site chosen to recognize China’s ascendancy in the world of skyscrapers — with nine of the world’s 20 tallest buildings now under construction.

The current record holder — the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai — is expected to be overtaken by an Arab neighbor, the 3,281-foot Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2018.

Developing countries are eclipsing the United States and Europe in the “megatall” category of structures, driven to build ever higher by their faster economic growth and a desire to show off new wealth.

Johnson said that about four years ago, he discussed plans with a Middle Eastern developer for a building 1½ miles high. The developer, whom he declined to identify, shelved the idea because of the economic turmoil in the region, he said, but “we actually discovered you can do it.” More info

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