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Saudi Arabia Plans to Build The World's Tallest Skyscraper

World's Tallest Skyscraper

State-linked development companies in the Red Sea port of Jiddah have agreed to pony up the money for a skyscraper flirting with the unprecedented one-kilometer mark. That's about 3,280 feet. Or about 550 feet taller than the current record spire, Dubai's Burj Khalifa. Or well more than twice as tall as the Empire State Building. Or about six Washington Monuments stacked end to end.

Anyway, you get the point. The planned Jiddah Tower is a monumental undertaking that had something of a pie-in-the-sky aura when it was first rumored last decade.At the time, it was widely considered just a bit of architectural bluster by Saudi leaders chagrined by the world-record tower taking shape over the border in the United Arab Emirates. But looks like Saudi Arabia could make good on its blueprints. Two major state development arms, the Jiddah Economic Co. and Alinma Investment, announced Sunday a $1.2 billion financing deal to fund the 200-story tower and surrounding developments. Plans call for the building to be completed in 2020.

Already, 26 stories are built. An observation terrace is planned floor No. 157 of the tower, shaped like a gleaming shard.But even more startling than the size is the timing. Saudi Arabia is in a relative slump by oil giant standards. Low crude prices have sharply cut the revenue flow from the years of triple-digit levels per barrel. Add to that the costly Saudi-led war in Yemen against anti-Saudi rebels that Riyadh claims are backed by arch-rival Iran.