Blog :: 02-2018

10 tallest buildings under construction or in development around the world

10 tallest buildings under construction or in development around the world

Patrick Sisson

Life above the clouds at Jeddah Tower
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Frank Lloyd Wright once proposed The Illinois, a mile-high skyscraper set on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, a towering giant of a building powered by atomic elevators. It's clear symbol of the current race to raise skylines around the world that Wright's vision from the '50s, yet to be realized, is coming closer and closer to reality.

Developments in building technology and a surfeit of construction projects in Asia makes the title of tallest building more temporary than ever; only one of the buildings on this list of the ten tallest in waiting are in North America, and half of them will eventually eclipse the height of One World Trade Center. This list contains the tallest under construction based on data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. There are many others on the drawing board, but this is meant to showcase the projects likely to be completed.

A construction photo of the Jeddah Tower under construction.
CTBUH Executive Director Antony Wood
Jeddah Tower
Jeddah Tower
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Merdeka PNB118

Jeddah Tower (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: 3,281 feet, estimated completion 2021)

This skyscraper is likely will become the first to break the one kilometer mark, not merely because it's already under construction and supported by the deep pockets of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, but because it was designed by Adrian Smith.

An architect whose career highlights include the Hancock Center and Burj Khalifa, Smith designed the Jeddah Tower to be the next iteration of the Burj, a shard of steel and glass that, in its triangular shape, recalls a palm about to spread its fronds. The centerpiece of a new suburb, this skyscraper will shatter records, offer sightseers a perch on the 157th story (site of a proposed helipad), and even showcase an entirely new type of elevator, speedy double-decker cabins swept between floors by a new carbon fiber cord. Perhaps more incredible is that building was meant to be a mile high, but engineers discovered that the surrounding geology unsuitable to support such a structure.

Merdeka PNB118 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 2,113 feet, estimated completion 2021)

Property developers are hoping this crystalline tower becomes as much of a catalyst for the city as César Pelli's Petronas Towers, still the tallest twin structures in the world. This is a massive project for Australian firm Fender Katsalidis Architects, which has been attached to a series of tall towers in Melbourne.

Wuhan Greenland Center
Wuhan Greenland Center
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Grand Rama 9 Tower
Grand Canal Land Public Company

Wuhan Greenland Center (Wuhan, China: 2,087 feet, estimated completion 2019)

Another project being overseen by the firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, this in-the-works tower in central China offers a unique, curved profile, a tripod shape that tapers and forms a dome to reduce wind resistance. The entire structure, from the grand lobbies to the corners fashioned in curved glass, present a fluid profile, reducing the building's material footprint. To add an additional air of exclusivity, the summit of this multi-use super tall will include a private member's club.

Grand Rama 9 Tower (Bangkok, Thailand: 2,018 feet, estimated completion 2021)

A symbol of recent developments in the Thai capital, like the under-construction transit lines connecting outlying areas to the central business district, this supertall will be an exclamation point on Bangkok’s continued growth as a regional hub. Named after a famous Thai king, the future landmark, which will be southeast Asia’s tallest building, will include a six-star hotel and become a highlight of the city center, which features a master plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Baoneng Shenyang Global Financial Center
Tianjin CTF Finance Centre
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Global Financial Center Tower 1 (Shenyeng, China: 1,864 feet, estimated completion 2020)

Nicknamed the Pearl of the North, the 111-story, mixed-use skyscraper will feature a circular inset towards the apex as well as a luxury auto showroom towards the top floor and a smaller sister tower, both designed by Atkins. Set in the Golden Corridor in the city’s central business district, the tower also makes a nod towards regional history; the canopies were designed to resemble the tents of the Qing Dynasty.

Tianjin CTF Finance Centre (Tianjin, China: 1,739 feet, estimated completion 2020)

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to meet LEED Gold standards, this gently sloping tower features a crystallized facade that accentuates the curves of the building’s frame. There’s rhyme and reason to those subtle bends and arches: along with strategically placed vents, the shape reduces “vortex shedding,” which sharply decreases the wind forces impacting the tower.

Zun Tower
Skyfame Center Landmark Tower
Skyfame Center Landmark Tower

China Zun Tower (Beijing, China: 1,732 feet, estimated completion 2018)

Modeled after a ceremonial “zun” vessel, a bronze or ceramic design meant to hold wine, this gently curving tower will soon rise over the new extension of Beijing’s central business district. Designed by the international architecture firm Farrells, with engineering help by Arup and KPF serving as design and executive architect, the unique, concave tower, split between office space, private club and an observation deck, provides additional high-rent space on the top floors and a dramatic lobby entrance on the ground floor. In addition to claiming the title of China’s tallest building, the Zun will also be the tallest structure in a high seismic zone when its finished, relying on steel-concrete composite braces and a solid concrete core for stability.

Skyfame Center Landmark Tower (Nanning, China: 1,732 feet, estimated completion 2021)

Also known as the Tianyu Tower, this 108-story project hasn’t released many official details, despite being on the CTBUH list. Some commenters on an older Skyscraper City discussion page where this photo was sourced have noted the building is named after the developer.

Evergrande International
Central Park Tower

Evergrande International (Hefei, China: 1,699 feet, estimated completion 2021)

Originally designed by Atkins, with Thornton Tomasetti working as structural engineers, this unique tower mimics the contours of bamboo, with seven vertical sections set to utilize a “core-outrigger system.” The mixed-use structure will be the centerpiece of the central business district in Hefei, a city in east-central China.

Central Park Tower (New York City, USA: 1,550 feet, estimated completion 2020)

A rare U.S. structure to crack the top ten list, this forthcoming addition to Billionaire’s Row in Manhattan, another Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill design, has been the subject of speculation, especially over the highly anticipated additions to the city’s high-end residential market. According to a recent report in Curbed New York, the developer, reports suggest developer Extell will price 20 of the condos at $60 million or more.



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    Mortgage rates climb for Friday

    Binyamin Mellish/stocksnap.io

    Binyamin Mellish/stocksnap.io


    Several benchmark mortgage rates moved higher today. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both increased. On the variable-mortgage side, the average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages also trended upward.

    Rates for mortgages change daily, but they have remained in a historically low range for quite some time. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it could make sense to go ahead and lock if you see a rate you like. Just be sure to shop around.

    Compare mortgage rates in your area now.


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      Boston's height limit: Will the city ever pierce 800 feet?

      Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston

      Boston, Downtown, Massachusetts, Scenic

      In much the same way that the middle-class is unlikely to enjoy a renaissance in Boston, developers are unlikely to ever pierce 800 feet in terms of building height.

      At least not for the foreseeable future.

      The city’s tallest building by 2020 will be the same as it is today: 200 Clarendon (the former Hancock), which stretches to 790 feet at its tallest architectural detail, not counting antennae and other apparatus. 

      The second-tallest will also be the same, too: The 749-foot Pru. 

      The third will likely be new: The under-construction One Dalton hotel-residential tower in Back Bay is slated to stretch to 742 feet at its highest architectural feature. 

      After these three, Boston’s 10 or so tallest buildings by 2020 will stretch little beyond the 700-foot mark. 

      What’s holding the city back from building to 800 feet, 900 feet, (gasp!) 1,000 feet? The sagas of two arrested developments—both garage conversions, in fact—illustrate the answer.

      Developer Millennium Partners had at one point proposed building a 775-foot mixed-use tower, including condos, at the site of the shuttered Winthrop Square Garage at 240 Devonshire Street. (Millennium bought the garage from the city, and originally proposed a still-significant 750-foot project, before bumping that to 775 feet in November 2016.)

      Then concerns about the shadows such a tower would cast on landmarks slowed the requisite approvals. Then federal regulatory concerns about the effects of such a height on planes in and out of Logan slowed approvals some more. 

      So the height started dropping—first to 702 feet and then to 691 feet at the start of 2018. The project would still pencil out to 1.6 million square feet of space, including 640,000 square feet of condos. But the height, it’s 84 feet off the boldest plan. 

      And even with such reductions and a relaxation of state rules governing shadows in Boston’s historic core, the Winthrop Square Garage project remains uncertain nearly 18 months after Millennium reached a deal with the city to acquire the garage. 

      Attempts to redevelop another Boston garage stretch back much further than the efforts at Winthrop Square. 

      The Chiofaro Co. has owned the 1,380-space Boston Harbor Garage at 270 Atlantic Avenue since 2007, and has been trying to redevelop it pretty much since then.

      Previous projects have included a two-tower complex that included hotel rooms and condos—and an ice rink as part of a year-round open space—and a single skyscraper with offices and condos.

      Disputes with the neighbors, including the New England Aquarium, have held up the plans, however, and, while the single-tower proposal appeared to take a big step forward last winter, plans still remained up in the air.

      That was until February 2018, when the Boston Planning and Development Agency proposed allowing Chiofaro to build a tower as high as 600 feet in exchange for establishing a fund worth up to $30 million to compensate the aquarium for any disruptions and to set aside parking for the institution. 

      Chiofaro would also be on the hook for a so-called Blueway extension of the Kennedy Greenway. Moreover, open public space would have to be a sizable part of Chiofaro’s development under the BPDA plan.

      All in all, the plan would allow for the tallest tower ever along Boston Harbor. Chiofaro appears amenable to the deal’s terms, including the aquarium’s indemnification against loss of visitors/business.

      Still, the tower might yet tarry: The state could take up to two months to review the BPDA plan; then it’s another round of local and state permitting; and Chiofaro hasn’t settled on a final design to even propose.

      There is also continuing opposition from the owners in the neighboring Harbor Towers complex.

      An amalgam of regulatory hurdles, neighborhood concerns-slash-opposition, seemingly unchangeable infrastructure, and Boston’s simple geography appears to be the insurmountable obstacle to building beyond 800 feet. 

      Meanwhile, the city continues to grapple with an infamous housing crunch that causes Manhattan-esque prices and to work overtime to draw and retain commercial tenants

      What’d you think? In your lifetime, will you see an 800-footer in Boston? 

      Financial District's 50 Post Office Square getting a glassy new lobby.

      By Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston.

      The owner of the Art Deco office building at 50 Post Office Square in Boston’s Financial District is planning to erect a new lobby on High Street with a 35-foot glass curtain and an indoor-outdoor LED board. 

      Think the Apple Store outside of Manhattan’s General Motors Building, though not as detached. 

      The board at 50 Post Office is supposed to highlight the way people move through the lobby and the street along it, per the Globe’s Tim Logan

      The lobby is the latest addition to a changing Financial District. The office tower at 100 Federal Street is getting a glass atrium on the sidewalk, and the owners of One Post Office Square are sheathing that 41-story commercial building in glass, with a three-story glass pavilion at the tower’s base. 

      That pavilion will include nearly 8,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space as well as a public passageway between One Post Office and the adjacent Langham Hotel.

      It’s all toward making the Financial District more competitive in an office market with more options than a few years back. 

      Is there a blockchain in mortgage servicing's future?

      By:Elina Tarkazikis
      Elina Tarkazikis is a reporter for National Mortgage News.

      Servicers continue to face data management challenges, particularly during loan onboarding and transfers. Blockchain technology may hold the key to resolving those issues.

      With blockchain's ability to streamline data distribution procedures, the technology could help make servicing processes more seamless.

      "What if in the future, all originated loans automatically end up on a blockchain? Payments, taxes, insurance, electronic transfers — with no involvement of people?" Sapient Global Markets Director Brian Martin asked while addressing the Mortgage Bankers Association's Servicing Conference in Dallas earlier this month.

      "At this point it is entirely conceivable that the entire servicing industry could be replaced by a blockchain," Martin said.

      As technology trends toward intelligent automation, rules and descriptive analytics can be used to guide processes like foreclosures along without the need for repetitive human intervention. In other words, if servicing tasks can be distilled to purely operational over functional, then technology can replace many of the manual tasks that are costly and can ensnarl servicers in regulatory compliance issues.

      What makes blockchain technology so promising for servicers is the way it facilitates efficient data management.

      "The problem is not transporting the data by itself, the security or the privacy of that data, the integrity — it's none of those things by themselves — it's when you put all of those together, in this perfect storm of emerging technology that we have that increases the value," explained Martin.

      "We've got servicers, GSEs, originators, all trying to engage in what is practically sharing data, transportation of data, reporting regulatory laws — you have to have a secure movement, and in servicing you have this natural fit," he added.


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        Congestion pricing in Boston: Has its time arrived?

        By Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston

        York City is closer than ever to enacting congestion pricing—that is, charging most motorists a fee for driving in and out of Manhattan’s main commercial districts. 

        The idea has the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the sort-of backing, or at least not outright opposition, of New York Mayor (and Cambridge native) Bill de Blasio. Business groups are starting to line up behind it, and even ride-hailing apps such as Uber are saying they wouldn’t have a problem with the fee. 

        The idea behind congestion pricing is simple: To reduce vehicular traffic in congested areas by making it a cost-benefit analysis rather than a routine for drivers. Go in and about only if you absolutely need to—otherwise, take public transit, bike, or walk. 

        In New York’s case, too, the revenue from congestion pricing under the most recent proposal would go toward paying for much-needed repairs to the region’s public transit system, particularly the subway.

        You know what other region needs money for its public transit system, particularly the subway? Yes, Boston. 

        The idea of charging drivers a fee for entering the city’s core is not a new one (and highway tolls are already a fact of life here). The idea has been bandied about to the point of mulling where officials might locate cameras to snap cars’ photos for fees.

        Inside Boston's new luxury movie theater in the Seaport District

        By   –  Associate Managing Editor, Boston Business Journal

        Starting today, Boston's newest movie theater, the Kerasotes ShowPlace Icon, will play a starring role as an anchor tenant in the massive One Seaport development in the Seaport District.

        The luxury theater complex spans 44,000 square feet and features 10 auditoriums and seats 855 guests in total. Auditoriums range from the 131-seat ICON-X premium large format room to the more intimate 63-seat auditorium. It's the first ShowPlace Icon theater to open in Massachusetts, joining other locations in Chicago, Minneapolis and Secaucus, New Jersey.

        The theater features all-laser projection and 4K laser projection in the ICON X theater; an immersive audio experience with Dolby speakers; wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screens; and seat heaters that can be activated or deactivated.

        The theater's Lobby Lounge offers guests a lounge menu, full bar and "dramatic views of the city," the company said. The lounge’s menu is prepared by an in-house chef "from its two-story, 16,000 square foot kitchen and emphasizes locally sourced products with sustainable farmers and artisans whenever possible," according to a release.

        Other retail tenants in Boston's One Seaport includeMr. Sid, Peter Millar, Bonobos, lululemon athletica, The C.C. Filson, L.L.Bean, Warby Parker, For Now, Equinox, Kings Dining & Entertainment, Tuscan Kitchen, Luke’s Lobster, Caffé Nero, 75 on Courthouse Square, Seaport Barbers, sweetgreen, La Colombe, Scorpion Bar, The Grand and Bank of America.

        The theater will be playing the following 2018 Oscar nominees this weekend: "Lady Bird", "The Shape of Water", "The Post", "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri", "Darkest Hour" and "I, Tonya."

        At a combined 1.5 million square feet, the $600 million One Seaport Square development is the among the largest mixed-use projects in the city of Boston in at least three decades. The development features a combined 832 rental units across two towers — The Benjamin, a 22-story, 354-unit tower at 25 Northern Ave., and VIA, a 20-story, 478-unit tower at 5 Fan Pier Blvd.


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