I WAS INVITED TO BE AMONG THE FIRST MALAYSIANS TO VISIT AND CLIMB (I MEAN TAKE THE LIFT!) BURJ KHALIFA ON 11 JANUARY 2012. IT OPENED OFFICIALLY ON 4 JANUARY 2010.
The tallest used to be 101 Building in Taipei and our own Petronas Twin Towers once used to be the tallest but at 1,483 ft (451.9 metres), this 88 floor structure remains the world's TALLEST TWIN TOWERS! So smart of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to realise sooner or later another building would surpass Petronas Twin Towers so he artfully had TWO towers built so they would remain the world's tallest twin towers!
Anyway Burj Khalifa was originally named Burj Dubai when it was built but by the time it was completed, Dubai's bubble building boom had burst so Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum had to swallow his pride and go begging bowl in hand to his cousin Sheikh Khalifa Syed Al-Nahyan for a handout reputed to be either RM 30 billion or RM 60 billion, depending on who you ask.
Anyway for that sum, Sheikh Khalifa Al-Nahyan who is also president of United Arab Emirates in which Dubai belongs, effectively owns the tower and probably the entire project 490 acre development called Downtown Dubai or its new nickname Downturn Dubai as its value has plummeted so drastically!
Burj Khalifa cost RM 6 billion which is in line with expectations.
In 2009 at its peak, office space cost a shocking RM 12,000 per sq ft! Imagine it would have cost RM 12 million for a lousy 1,000 sq ft of office space. Idiots who paid this amount are still licking their wounds as they could have moved into a 10,000 sq ft office in Kuala Lumpur or 5,000 sq ft in London and worked from there since all anyone needs these days is a computer, smartphone and chair!
So when the ruler of Dubai declared open the tower, everyone was surprised but not shocked he named it Burj (Tower in Arab) Khalifa instead of Burj Dubai. If I loaned anyone RM 30 billion or RM 60 billion I would insist the entire emirate be named after me!
When I arrived at Burj Khalifa, the price had dropped 50% and 80% of Armani Apartments were empty. An Armani residence once sold for RM 11,000 per sq ft! So a 2,000 sq ft flat would have gone for RM 22 million!
However, Emaar Properties the developer told me by now September 2013, aound 85% of the condos had been sold.
I went to the Observation Deck on the 124th floor which is not bad as the total number of floors is 163. The Observation Deck, called 'At The Top' is 1,483 ft (451.9 metres) above ground. Yes, you got that right! At 1,483 feet above ground, Dubai's Burj Khalifa's Observation Deck on the 124th floor is exactly the same height as Petronas Twin Towers! Whether this is done intentionally to snub us or strictly coincidental I do not know but the coincidence is astonishing!
Of course the view from this sky-high observatory post is like looking down from an eagle's aerie and I could see practically forever, all the way to Abu Dhabi and probably Saudi Arabia to the east or the Pyramids to the west.
Well, ironically the world's tallest manmade structure has finally returned to where it all started---for 4,000 years Cheop's Pyramid at Giza was the tallest structure until Lincoln Cathedral in England overtook it in 1311.
The only thing about Burj Khalifa that is named 'Dubai is the fountain. If I were Sheikh Khalifa Al-Nahyan, I would name the fountain after me but he is not egoistical like me so it is called Dubai Fountain.
At RM 700 million, it makes our Petronas fountain behind Petronas Twin Towers looks like a water sprinkler from a hose pipe.
Dubai Fountain shoots water to 490 feet into the sky and is accompanied by 6,600 light bulbs and 50 projectors as its computerised water jets play according to Arabic, classical and contemporary western music. It plays every 15 minutes and everyone just stands or sits mesmerised!
Visit Dubai now as I have not even started on Dubai Mall where the world's best buys await!