By Saifur Rahman, Staff Reporter
Published: 12/07/2005 12:00 AM (UAE)

Dubai: Burj Dubai, which is on its way to becoming the tallest tower in the world, could be dwarfed by another Dubai landmark, Al Burj, before its completion in 2008, officials told a Meed Projects conference on Tuesday.

"With more than 700 metres in height and more than 160 floors, Burj Dubai will be the tallest tower in the world," Abdullah Lahej, Emaar Properties director of construction, told delegates at the second Major Project Developments in Dubai conference, organised by Meed Projects, an online projects tracker. "We are now pouring concrete for the 17th floor."

Though it is unclear as to which Burj will eventually dwarf the other, one thing is pretty clear: Dubai will have the two tallest towers.

Following the launch of Burj Dubai, Nakheel, a Dubai-based property developer, last year announced Al Burj, which was initially planned to be developed on the Palm Jumeirah's trunk, where the Palm Trump Hotel and Tower is being planned.

Al Burj has been presented to General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence.

The location of Al Burj was later shifted to Dubai Waterfront the world's largest man-made waterfront development. However, its height remained a secret until yesterday as Nakheel did not want the public to speculate on it.

"At the moment, I can only say that Al Burj will be at least 700 metres tall and one of the tallest towers in the world," Robert Lee, Nakheel's director for development, said, avoiding further queries on its actual height, or if it would challenge Burj Dubai.

"Al Burj will be a mixed-use project with a combination of offices and residences. We are currently working on its design."

Construction officials are certain that it will be higher than Burj Dubai.

"I can't imagine anyone spending so much money to raise it up to 700 metres and not make it the tallest tower. It would be foolish of any developer not to stretch further to make it the tallest one in the world," said an official of a large contracting company.

"I hear, Nakheel is looking to stretch Al Burj to around one kilometres in height, that is 1,000 metres," said a participant.

Nakheel, owned by Dubai Government, and Emaar, a listed company, which is 32.5 per cent owned by the government, are two of the three entities mandated by the government to offer properties on a freehold basis to expatriates.

Together with Dubai Holding, the government's investment arm, they are rapidly transforming the emirate.

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