Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building developed by Emaar Properties, set several global milestones in high-rise construction in 2008, an epoch-making year for the tower. On course to open in 2009, Burj Khalifa has reached a record 780 metres (2,559 ft) height, and has over 160 storeys, the most number of floors in any building.

In 2008, Burj Khalifa achieved the distinction of being the world’s tallest structure surpassing the KVLY-TV mast (628.8 metres; 2,063 ft) in North Dakota, USA. The tower is already taller than Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which at 508 metres (1,667 ft) has held the tallest-building-in-the-world title since it opened in 2004. Burj Dubai also surpassed the 31-year-old record of CN Tower, which at 553.33 metres (1,815.5 ft) has been the world’s tallest free-standing structure on land since 1976.

Mr Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director – UAE, Emaar Properties, said: “This has been a landmark year for Burj Khalifa, as it consolidated its global leading position in the construction of high-rises. Every aspect of Burj Khalifa, now, is a world-first, and highlights the new aspects of construction technology employed for the tower.”

A mixed-use tower, Burj Khalifa will have residences and commercial ss apart from The Armani Hotel Khalifa, and Armani Residences, luxury hospitality ventures by Emaar in association with haute couture major Giorgio Armani S.p.A. Burj Khalifa will also have recreational facilities and entertainment venues including four luxurious pools and a cigar club, a library, exclusive residents’ lounge, serviced residences, 15,000 sq ft of fitness facilities and an observatory.

When completed next year, Burj Khalifa will meet all four criteria listed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which classifies the world’s tallest structures. CTBUH measures the height of buildings to the structural top, the highest occupied floor, the top of the roof and the tip of the spire, pinnacle, antenna, mast or flag pole.

Designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Burj Khalifa is constructed by high-rise experts South Korea’s Samsung Corporation. Turner Construction International is the project and construction manager.

Currently, some 7,500 professionals and skilled workers are employed on-site at Burj Khalifa. Cladding work is nearing completion and work on interiors, spire and other support systems is progressing.

Mr Matrooshi added: “Burj Khalifa also positioned Dubai in the global spotlight, and several plans are currently underway to mark the opening of the tower in 2009. This includes our exclusive publishing contract with Opus, a leading publisher, to create the Burj Khalifa Opus, a definitive account charting the creation of the iconic tower.”

The Burj Khalifa Opus will showcase the various facets of developing Burj Khalifa, featuring exclusive content and never-before-seen photography. The flagship book will be housed within Burj Khalifa for public display following the opening of the tower in 2009.

Burj Khalifa anchors Emaar’s flagship mega-project, the AED 73 billion (US$20 billion) Downtown Burj Khalifa. Described as the new heart of the city, Downtown Burj Khalifa is a mixed-use neighbourhood with premium hotels, exclusive business facilities, modern residences, shopping malls and leisure facilities.