Jakarta restarts work on 'world's tallest tower', despite subsidence concerns

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The Independent Online

An Indonesian consortium has recommenced work on what it says will be the world's tallest tower, despite concerns that the site is sinking into the sea.

An Indonesian consortium has recommenced work on what it says will be the world's tallest tower, despite concerns that the site is sinking into the sea.

The Jakarta Tower, which is being built on an old airfield in the centre of the national capital, will eventually soar to 1,830ft, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday. At present the world's highest free-standing such structure is the CN Tower, a 1,800ft-high communications building and outlook point in Toronto, Canada. The Sears Tower in Chicago is 1,453ft tall, while the Petronas Towers in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, reach 1,483ft.

Land in the city's northern sections, along the Java Sea shoreline, has been gradually sinking as a result of thousands of illegal wells pumping out water from the ground. The Jakarta Tower is to be situated in that district.

The governor of Jakarta, who has the single name Sutiyoso, said: "This large-scale project will become a symbol of pride for Jakarta as well as Indonesia."

Mr Sutiyoso has been accused of concentrating on showpiece projects such as the tower while ignoring the capital city's crumbling infrastructure and the squalid housing that is home to millions of impoverished city-dwellers.

Work on the tower began in 1997, but was halted later that year when the Asian financial crisis hit the region. Dozens of other large-scale building projects were also abandoned.

Construction has restarted because of an upturn in the economy, which is now growing at 4 per cent a year, fuelling a mini-building boom in the city. Several new shopping centres, apartment blocks and office buildings are springing up or have recently opened.

The tower is expected to cost 2,700bn rupiahs (£174m) and to be completed in 2010. It will hold a 10,000-seat convention centre and a 200-bed hotel.

The newspaper reported that the Jakarta Tower will include a hotel, shops and office space. The city's tallest building is currently the 56-storey BNI Tower, which stands at 820ft.

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