Credit: Courtesy BESIX
Construction to start on Morocco's record-breaking skyscraper
Work on what will be Morocco's tallest skyscraper will start on Thursday in the capital of Rabat.
The Bank of Africa tower will stand at 820 feet tall (250 meters), and become the second-highest skyscraper on the continent behind The Pinnacle, which is under construction in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Pinnacle will reach 984 feet and is due to be finished in December 2019, overtaking the previous record held by the 732-feet Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Rising to 55 floors, Morocco's Bank of Africa tower will host a luxury hotel, apartments, office space and a viewing terrace at the top. It is due to be completed on May 30, 2022.
The new skyscraper was designed by architects Rafael de la Hoz and Hakim Benjelloun, and is being built by construction firms BESIX Group and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca (TGCC).
"The Bank of Africa tower will be an emblematic building for the country," says Rik Vandenberghe, chief executive of BESIX Group.
Morocco's BMCE Bank is believed to have spent 3 billion Moroccan dirham (around $314 million) on the project.
BESIX has worked on other state-of-the-art projects in Africa and the Middle East, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the Four Seasons Hotel in Manama, Bahrain.
The building process will also be supported by China Railway Construction Corporation International.
The tower is at the center of a wider Bouregreg Valley Development project, part of Rabat's modernization program called Rabat Ville Lumière, Capitale Marocaine de la Culture (Rabat, City of Light, Moroccan Capital of Culture).
This includes other major urban developments, including the Maison des Arts et de la Culture (House of Arts and Culture) and Le Grand Théâtre de Rabat.