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Is Bin Laden's Half-Brother Building Africa's Tallest Tower?

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Last Friday, the newswires reported that Africa's tallest tower would be built in Morocco's largest city, Casablanca. There were many facts, renderings that resembled a pair of tweezers holding a diamond, and naturally, some steroidal measurements. The Al-Noor skyscraper would stand 1,782 feet high, would cost an estimated $1B, and would be built by the construction firm of Saudi businessman Sheikh Tarek Bin Laden (yeah, Osama's half-brother). However, instead of basking in the attention that inevitably comes with announcing any kind of "tallest" project, authorities in Casablanca and spokespeople for the construction firm are denying that any such building is planned.

"There is no project to build a 540-meter tall tower in Casablanca. The tallest tower in Casablanca will be . . . comprised of 42 stories, only," the head of Casablanca's urbanization and development agency stated. He added that he had not approved any plans to build Africa's tallest tower in the Moroccan metropolis, which already has the continent's highest minaret, is world-famous because of a Humphrey Bogart film, and doesn't necessarily need an elongated pair of tweezers with a seven-star hotel inside.

"The first buzz/media press from Al Turky Group was not from our side and was full of wrong information," whines the construction group on its website, despite the fact that one of the skyscraper's own project managers was quoted bragging about it being Africa's tallest tower in an AFP story. "No, we did not ask for a license to build the tower," the Dubai-based firm claims now. "We are still investigating for the best place and conditions to build such a project in Morocco. This is what we are saying since the beginning." Oh, really?

Assuming it doesn't follow in the footsteps of many other stalled mega-projects, the 114-story Al-Noor tower would be more than twice the height of the current African record-holder, Johannesburg's 732-foot Carlton Centre. That being said, it looks like the modernist, 50-story skyscraper in South Africa, built in 1973 by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, will hold the record for a while longer. Renderings of what may or may not eventually be Africa's tallest skyscraper, below:

· Local Authorities Deny Reports of Building Africa's Tallest Tower in Casablanca [Morocco World News]
· All Development Watch posts [Curbed National]