Mile-High Fascination: Super-Tall Skyscraper Planned in Saudi Arabia

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REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh

Can the planned new tower beat the Burj Khalifa?

Fascination with skyscraper height in the Middle East has skied to new levels with the announcement of plans for a mile-high skyscraper for Saudi Arabia.

NewsFeed thought Dubai’s Burj Khalifa—built in 2010 at 2,717 feet tall—was plenty high enough for a building without wings (wouldn’t that be cool, by the way?). But NewsFeed doesn’t live in Jeddah, where the Saudi Arabian government reportedly approved a 5,280-foot-tall tower (that is a mile, for all those keeping score).

(More on TIME.com: Going small with backyard cottages)

Planned for the edge of a massive new development, the proposed tower makes the back-and-forth race to boast the tallest man-made structure in the world somewhat out of reach, at least for now. The top of the tower might get out of reach, too. Elevators may take as much as 12 minutes to reach the top floor.  Reportedly at a cost of $20 billion and financed by Saudi Royal family-owned Kingdom Holding Company, the tower would contain an expansive hotel, offices and residential space.

Adrian Smith, a Chicago architect who designed Burj Khalifa, is rumored to be the architect, something his office has neither confirmed nor denied. Oh, what mystery this entire affair really is. There’s nothing like a bit of architectural intrigue.

(More on TIME.com: Greening the skyline)

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