Azerbaijan aims to put up world's tallest building

Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:44pm EDT
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By Lada Evgrashina and Margarita Antidze

BAKU (Reuters) - Oil revenues have already fuelled a high-profile construction frenzy in the former Soviet state of Azerbaijan, but in an attempt to raise its profile further, the Caspian Sea country is looking to build the tallest building in the world.

Tentatively named Azerbaijan Tower, the planned 1,050 meter structure will dwarf Dubai's Burj Khalifa to look over Baku's largest development project which is planned to include dozens of artificial islands and a Formula One race track.

Following in the footsteps of other oil and natural gas-rich post-Soviet countries along the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan wants to use its newly found oil wealth to project an image of modernity in a country where the Nobel brothers struck oil more than a century ago.

A planned 41 islands that will dot the Caspian Sea will be connected by 150 bridges.

"One million people will live here...It will be Venice, new Venice," said Ibrahim Ibrahimov, the brains behind the project and the head of real estate developer Avesta, seen as close to President Ilham Aliyev.

Ibrahimov said that American, Turkish, Arab and Chinese investors have already showed their interest in the project which is expected to cost some $100 billion.

Ibrahimov said the project will be completed between 2020 and 2025.

Construction work is currently underway on a road system which will include a Formula-1 quality race track.   Continued...