Emaar Properties has won the contract to build a tower higher even than its own Burj Dubai, at present the world's tallest building. In a deal worth 100 billion Saudi riyals (US$26.6bn, Dh98bn), Kingdom Holding chose Emaar from a list of five bidders to build the 1,100m tower and surrounding Kingdom City in Jeddah, according to a statement on the Kingdom website yesterday. "The alliance between Kingdom Holding Company and Emaar is strategic," said Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, the chairman of Kingdom Holding. "Emaar was selected ... for its previous proven experience in the development of mega- projects, its knowledge of the area and social set-up." The Kingdom City development will be one of the largest and most ambitious projects to be built in Saudi Arabia. With Kingdom Tower as its centrepiece, the development will be spread over 23 million square metres and will be modelled on a design similar to Emaar's Downtown Burj Dubai community, including a mixture of residential, commercial and entertainment facilities. Kingdom City is expected eventually to house 80,000 people. In a report released yesterday Jones Lang Lasalle, the property consultant, said Saudi Arabia's property market would be the strongest in the region over the next one to two years. Emaar, which is the largest developer in the UAE, is nearing completion on the 818m Burj Dubai, with an expected opening in September. The company is also developing the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia.