A company backed by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will build the world’s tallest skyscraper in Jeddah as a “mega structure” building boom returns to the Middle East.

Kingdom Holding secured a $1.2 billion (£737 million) deal with the Saudi BinLadin Group to build “Kingdom Tower” – a more than 1,000-metre (3,280ft) skyscraper close to the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second largest city.

At more than a kilometre tall, it will replace the Burj Khalifa, which is at least 172 metres smaller, as the world’s tallest building and will be more than 500 metres taller than the Willis Tower in Chicago and “The Shard” in London.

Jeddah Economic Corporation, part of the Kingdom Group and responsible for the development, said that the skyscraper was inspired by the “folded fronds of a young desert plant”.

Kingdom Tower, designed by a Chicago architect AS&GG, will house a Four Seasons hotel and apartments, condominiums, offices and the world’s highest observation deck.

It was conceived around 2007 as the first phase of a $20 billion urban development, Kingdom City, which marks the gateway to the holy city of Mecca.

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