Work has resumed on North Korea’s immense Ryugyong Hotel, intended as the world’s tallest hotel, but experts are predicting that it could cost 10% of the nation’s GDP to finish safely, with some even predicting a spectacular collapse if the work is not done.
The hotel was set to be the world’s largest, at 330m tall with 105 storeys, 3000 rooms and a 7 storey rotating restaurant to give panoramic views of the desolate capital of Pyongyang. However, it has already been superseded by a Dubai hotel.
The initial construction costs were estimated to be $750,000,000, which is approximately 3-4% of North Korea’s presumed GDP.
Construction began in 1982, but with the collapse of communism and a series of problems with ground subsidence and an inability to fit elevators work was cancelled in 1992; after this the hulking derelict was dubbed “the world’s tallest ruin” by bemused Chinese sources.
Construction quietly resumed in 2008 with the involvement of an Egyptian firm, and now much of the building is at least glazed, though what remains of the presumably weather ravaged interior is not clear.
“Completion,” or at least its ceremonial opening, is scheduled for the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung in 2012.
However, sources familiar with the edifice are saying that it could cost $2,000,000,000 to complete the structure safely due to various inadequacies in construction. This would amount to some 10% of the North Korean GDP, a crippling sum and one the leadership would surely rather spend on missiles with which to threaten its neighbours.
Should the structure not be properly finished, some are predicting its collapse, though should the funds be somehow scraped together it seems possible the nation itself might collapse.
Were it to be completed and used as a hotel North Korea’s problems might only exacerbate, as the running costs of a gigantic but empty hotel would be an even further drain.
In any case, it seems this grand spire might truly be North Korea’s greatest folly.