Dubai built more high-rises than any other city in 2020

Originally published on Jan 20, 2021 | The National

More high-rises were completed in Dubai last year than in any other city in the world, a new report shows.

Twelve buildings taller than 200 metres were completed in 2020, a record for the emirate and three more than in 2019, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's 2020 Year in Review report showed.

“Dubai has always been one of the centres globally for tall buildings and thus this position came as no surprise,” said Christopher Seymour, managing director for consulting engineer Mott MacDonald Middle East.

“The reason there was an apparent surge in completions in 2020 was down to the upturn in commitment in investment for this type of project around five years ago, aligned with the strong property market at the time – and those projects finally came to completion.”

The tallest building completed in Dubai last year was the 336-metre-high SLS Tower in Business Bay, making it the 11th-tallest worldwide.

Rounding off the top five are the 307-metre-high Amna Tower at Habtoor City, Jumeirah Gate (303 metres) at Jumeirah Beach Residences, ICD Brookfield Place (282 metres) at DIFC and Boulevard Point (280 metres) in Downtown Dubai.

The last time Dubai topped the global ranking was in 2010, the year the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was completed.

It broke Shenzhen’s four-year streak as the city completing the most towers.

The southern Chinese city completed nine buildings above 200 metres last year, down from 18 in 2019.

Globally, there were 106 high-rises completed last year, a 20 per cent decline on the 133 handed over in 2019.

This was the lowest number since 2014 as Covid-19 disrupted construction around the world.

The tallest building to be completed last year was Central Park Tower in New York City, at 472 metres – the first time in five years that the tallest completed building was not in China, and the first time since 2014, when One World Trade Centre completed, that the tallest building of the year was in the US.

This was also the first time since 2014 in which no building exceeded 500 metres in height.

China completed more than half the total number of buildings in the study (56), down from 57 in 2019 and 92 in 2018.

The second-most prolific country in terms of high-rise completion was the UAE, followed by the US with 10 and the UK with five. India completed three 200 metre-plus buildings in 2020, all in Mumbai.

In 2020, London completed four buildings with a height of at least 200 metres – the most in any year – despite the shadow of Brexit hanging over the city.

Three of the four are in Canary Wharf, the financial district.

The report estimates that between 125 and 150 buildings taller than 200 metres will be completed this year.

Of the top 30 projected completions this year, 18 are in China, five are in the US and three are in Saudi Arabia.

The two tallest buildings set to be completed this year are Riverview Plaza A1 in Wuhan (436 metres) and 111 West 57th Street in New York City (435 metres).

The number of towers in the UAE over the next few years is expected to fall as project launches slow amid a push to improve the supply-demand imbalance.

“In the last few years, the property market has become significantly weaker, particularly following the onset of the pandemic," Mr Seymour said.

"While we will still see completions of significant assets this year and next, the investment into new schemes is predicted to be lower.”