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Dubai opens world's tallest building

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Dubai opens world's tallest building

By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY Updated

Dubai today officially opened the world's largest building.

The Emirates news agency says the 160-story Burj Dubai tower is being renamed Burj Khalifa, after the president of the United Arab Emirates.

The developer's chairman said it cost about $1.5 billion to build the tapering metal-and-glass spire billed as a "vertical city" of luxury apartments and offices. It boasts four swimming pools, a private library and a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani.

Watch video above, or click here.

At a reported height of 2,684 feet, the skyscraper long ago vanquished its nearest rival, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

DPA, the German News Agency, said German architects have snubbed it as a bad example for building design.

"Nobody knows where the planning hubris of the sheikhs will lead," said  Christian Baumgart, president of the German architects' association DAI, according to DPA.

German architect Meinhard von Gerkan, who designed Berlin's central train station, called it "an economically pointless symbol of prestige, representing the power of money," DPA reports.

Update at 12:23 p.m. ET: The exact height of the building was deliberately kept secret before the inauguration. The Associated Press reports that it has now been officially given as 2,717 feet.

Update at 1:50 p.m. ET: The AP says that the tower is more than 50 stories higher than Chicago's Willis Tower, the tallest building in the U.S. formerly known as the Sears Tower.

At their peak, some apartments in the building were selling for more than $1,900 per square foot, though they now can go for less than half that, said Heather Wipperman Amiji, chief executive of Dubai real estate consultancy Investment Boutique, the AP reports.

The Burj is the centerpiece of a 500-acre development that officials hope will become a new central residential and commercial district.

(Posted by Doug Stanglin)

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About Doug Stanglin

Doug is an unrepentant news junkie who loves breaking news and has been known to watch C-SPAN even on vacation. He has covered a wide range of domestic and international news stories, from prison riots in Oklahoma to the Moscow coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. Doug previously served as foreign editor at USA TODAY. More about Doug

About Michael Winter

Michael Winter has been a daily contributor to On Deadline since its debut in January 2006. His journalism career began in the prehistoric Ink Era, and he was an early adapter at the dawn of the Digital Age. His varied experience includes editing at the San Jose Mercury News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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