Thai PM touts plan to build world’s tallest tower in Bangkok

Construction News
The founder of Emaar, which built Burj Khalifa (above), the world’s tallest tower, is part of a group of prospective investors looking at the prospects for “a super-tall tower” in Thailand. (Photo: Reuters).

Thai PM touts plan to build world’s tallest tower in Bangkok

Srettha talks with investors from Middle East and China about mixed-use megaproject in Bangkok

A group of investors led by a Dubai-based real estate developer is in talks to build a mixed-use tower in Thailand that may vie for the title of the world’s tallest building, according to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

Mr Srettha met with a group of Middle Eastern and Chinese companies including Emaar Group, Broad Group and Vatone Group and discussed plans to “build the world’s tallest building in Thailand”, he said in a post on X on Friday.

Emaar is best known for building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest tower at 828 metres.

The tallest building in Thailand is the 70-storey Magnolias Waterfront Residences Iconsiam in Bangkok, at 318 metres.

Mohamed Alabbar, who founded Emaar, said the Thai project would not be developed by the publicly traded company but by a group of investors that includes him in a personal capacity. The talks are in early stages for “a super-tall tower”, he said.

The project in Thailand would include a large department store, offices, a financial hub, a hotel and an entertainment centre, said Mr Srettha, who headed the property developer Sansiri Plc before entering politics last year.

The Pheu Thai government that Mr Srettha heads is also studying the development of entertainment complexes that would house casinos.

“It will create considerable investment value and attract tourists,” Mr Srettha wrote in the post, adding that the investors would study the prospects and propose an investment plan later.

“Promoting investments from the private sector is a key factor to stimulate the country’s economy and generate income for the people.”

The group is interested in setting up the “megaproject” in Bangkok, said government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

“The prime minister put forward a challenge to them that they could build a tower here that’s even taller than the one in Dubai. They didn’t reject the idea,” he told Bloomberg.

Since taking office in September, Mr Srettha has fashioned himself as Thailand’s chief “salesman”, courting big firms and potential investors to attract foreign direct investment into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which has lagged behind regional peers.

The premier has met with top executives from more than 60 companies, pitching for foreign investments across high-value sectors to lift Thailand’s growth rate from an average of less than 2% in the last decade.

Mr Srettha said the tower project could become a “man-made tourist destination” that will help bring in more visitors to Thailand, whose vital tourism industry accounts for 12% of its gross domestic product.

Thailand has seen a more than 40% jump in foreign tourist arrivals this year to about 11 million, as its visa waiver programmes and easier travel rules draw travellers from across the world. This year, the country aims to welcome 35 million to 40 million foreign tourists, close to the pre-pandemic record of 40 million visitors in 2019.