The List: Faulty Towers
With financing slowing to a trickle, the world's most hyped architectural projects remain castles in the sky.
Rossiya Tower Moscow, Russia
Rossiya Tower Moscow, Russia
Ambition: Russian oil and real estate magnate Shalva Chigirinsky and British architect Norman Foster shared a dream of erecting the tallest building in Europe. Intended as the centerpiece of a new business district, the planned 2,008-foot Rossiya Tower would have had 118 floors, featuring luxury apartments, office space, and a five-star hotel.
Reality check: The credit crunch hit Chigirinsky’s portfolio hard, and the project lost most of its financing. The completion date has been pushed back four years to 2016.
Bottom line: Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is especially keen to see the project move forward; he has been urging Chigirinsky to sell his stake to a rival developer. It remains to be seen whether municipal aspirations will trump the personal pride of one of Russia’s most successful capitalists.
Nakheel Tower Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Ambition: Dubai’s vaunted state-run developer Nakheel — famous for creating the emirate’s palm-shaped islands — announced plans three years ago to build a 3,280-foot skyscraper, the highest in the world. The tower, already under construction, was designed as the centerpiece of a massive $38 billion, 5,800-square-mile waterfront development project.
Reality check: Cranes stopped moving in January. With Dubai’s economy in free-fall, Nakheel announced that construction would be suspended for a year as the company adjusts its financing to "better reflect the current market trends."
Bottom line: The developers’ halted efforts will exist in the shadow, literally, of rival developer Emaar Properties’ nearly completed Burj Dubai tower, currently the world’s tallest building.
The New World Trade Center New York City, United States
Ambition: After years of political bickering following the September 11, 2001, attacks, New York finally agreed on an ambitious plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. The final blueprint includes the 1,400-foot, Daniel Libeskind-designed Freedom Tower, as well as smaller skyscrapers conceived by star architects Norman Foster and Richard Rogers.
Reality check: The slumping New York real estate market has forced developer Larry Silverstein to delay construction on most of the towers indefinitely.
Bottom line: Instead of the Foster and Rogers towers, Silverstein now plans to erect two small buildings for retail space that could one day be converted to "pedestals" for the towers whenever the market recovers.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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