Skyscrapers continue to be built around the world, many in the far east and middle east. That’s just the direction many countries are going in. Building taller and taller is the trend, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Recently, Shanghai Tower was completed in China and now stands as the world’s second tallest building. You generally only hear about projects that are completed. You rarely hear about skyscrapers that fail and are never completed, due to a number of reasons. These reasons can range from going over budget to encountering miscellaneous problems along the way. Whatever the case may be, the finished products never see the light of day. Here are some of the most high-profile, failed skyscraper projects.

Nakheel Tower:

Nakheel Tower was one of many skyscraper projects halted due to the 2008 financial crisis. Located in Dubai, this skyscraper was planned to be 3,300 feet tall, which would have made it the tallest building in the world, and contain 156 elevators. It was set to cost over $38 billion, have over 200 floors, and be completed in 2020. Amazingly, an initial height expectation of some companies involved in the project was 5,200 feet, nearly double the size of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s current tallest building. Other reports had it set to be 4,921 feet (1,500 meters). It had 3 different names over the course of the project; Al Burj, Tall Tower, and Nakheel Tower.

Grant USA Tower:

Set to be built in Newark, New Jersey, Grant USA Tower was a proposed 121-storey skyscraper which failed to become a reality. Harry Grant financed the project which was to be located over the old Central Railroad Terminal. It was set to be completed by 1986, and would have been the tallest building and structure at the time, and would have contained the tallest hotel. Harry Grant went bankrupt before the building ever even broke ground. It was set to be 1,750 feet or 533.4 meters.

Grollo Tower:

Grollo Tower was a 113-storey skyscraper, set to be built in Melbourne, Australia. Its original proposed height was 678 meters or 2,224 feet, but was later scaled down to 560 meters or 1,837 feet. This would have been the tallest building in the world at the time. It was scrapped in 2001, after it was ruled out for the tender for development of the precinct in Batman Hill. There were disagreements as to who would pay for infrastructure improvements The area it would have been in now contains a mixture of smaller residential and commercial properties. It would have been developed by the Grollo Group.

PAGCOR Tower:

PAGCOR Tower was a 665 meter or 2,182 foot tall proposed skyscraper. It would have been an observation tower near Manila Bay in the Philippines. It was meant to be a landmark of Pagcor City. It would have been one of the tallest towers in the world, beating Tokyo Skytree in Japan. It was meant to be 112 storeys.

7 South Dearborn:

This planned skyscraper for Chicago would have been 1,567 feet tall or 478 meters. The antennas would have reached extactly 2,000 feet or 610 meters. At the time it would have been constructed, it would have become the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The plans for the building were originally announced in 1999 and it would have stood 112-storeys tall. It would have surpassed Willis Tower by 116 feet or 35 meters. It would have been the tallest building in the world at the time, surpassing the Petronas Towers. Due to financial difficulties, the project was halted. In 2000, there were rumors that the project would be revived, however, nothing ever came of those rumors. A different building was built on the site in the end. It stands currently at 571 feet or 174 meters and is called One South Dearborn.

1 Dubai:

This would have been a complex of three different skyscrapers. The first one, Tower 1, would have been the tallest. Construction began in 2009, and it was intended to be over 600 meters or 2,000 feet. It was meant to be taller than the Burj Khalifa which was being built at the same time. The tower would have had 201 storeys and would have included a hotel, commercial, residential, entertainment, and retail space of over 800,000 square meters or 8.6 million square feet. The project ended up being cancelled in 2009.

For every skyscraper that is built, there are many that never make it. Many projects never get off the ground (literally), and many projects run out of money during construction. Have you heard of any of the failed projects that we listed? Sound off in the comments section down below.


Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager