Dubai is reaching for the sky again, with the developer of the world's tallest building vowing Sunday to build an even taller tower with rotating balconies and elevated landscaping inspired by the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon. The government-backed Emaar Properties hopes the new tower will entice a fresh wave of view-seeking homeowners even as it raises numerous other skyscrapers and repairs a prominent one gutted by New Year's Eve fire. Chair Mohamed Alabbar said the new tower would be "a notch" taller than the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa, reports the AP. Unlike the Burj Khalifa, the new $1 billion tower will not be a traditional skyscraper but more of a cable-supported spire containing "garden" observation decks with trees and other greenery. Emaar says it will also contain a hotel, restaurants, and glass balconies that rotate outside the wall of the tower.
The structure's design means it is unlikely to be widely recognized as a taller "building" than the Burj Khalifa even if it surpasses it in height. The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, for example, says at least 50% of a structure's height must contain usable floor area for it to be considered in its ranking of the world's tallest buildings. That typically disqualifies telecommunications and observation towers. It and the Burj Khalifa could also be surpassed by a skyscraper being built in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, that promises to rise more than 3,281 feet high. Alabbar likened the structure to a 21st-century Eiffel Tower that can act as a magnet not just for tourists but also property buyers who "would like to have that view. And if you ask me what is the financial model, that is the financial model." (Read more Burj Khalifa stories.)