The priciest buildings on the planet
If you’ve ever wondered which world-famous buildings cost the most money to construct, look no further. We’ve rounded up the most expensive buildings on the planet, from dizzyingly-high skyscrapers to lavish casino resorts. Read on to see the top 50, with all pre-2010 figures adjusted in line with inflation. All dollar values in US dollars unless otherwise stated
Mercury City, Moscow: $1 billion (£723m)
In September 2012 Moscow’s 1,112-feet (339m) Mercury City hit the headlines when it became the tallest skyscraper in Europe, overtaking the Shard in London. This unusual bronze-coloured tower, located in the heart of Moscow’s financial district, is also one of the most expensive buildings in the world, coming in at $1 billion (£772m).
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United States Embassy, London: $1 billion (£723m)
Completed in 2018 for a price tag of $1 billion (£723m), the unusual US Embassy building in London resembles a glass cube wrapped in plastic sails, partially surrounded by a moat-like pond. The modern structure was designed by Philadelphia-based firm Kieran Timberlake after the company won a 2010 competition to design an embassy that would embody the “ideals of the American government”. President Trump famously hated it…
Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago: $1 billion (£723m)
Trump Tower in New York is arguably the most famous building emblazoned with the name of the former US president, but Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago is the most expensive, costing $847 million (£635.5m) when it was built in 2009. That’s the equivalent of $1 billion (£723m) today. It’s also one of the tallest buildings in the US at 1,388 feet (423m) high.
St. Regis, Chicago: $1 billion (£723m)
At 1,198 feet (365m) tall, St. Regis Chicago is the tallest building in the world designed by a female architect: Jeanne Gang, head of architecture firm Studio Gang. Finished in 2020 for a price tag of $1 billion (£723m), the building comprises luxury penthouses, some of which offer 360-degree views of the city. Unsurprisingly these high-end apartments don’t come cheap: penthouses sold in 2021 went for $6-$8 million (£4.5-£6m).
Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg: $1 billion (£723m)
Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall opened in 2017. Despite being seven years behind schedule and nearly 10 times over budget at $1 billion ($726m), the striking structure has earned an important place in the city’s ever-changing waterfront area. Rising 354 feet (108m) above the harbour, this unusual building is a fusion of old and new, combining a 1960s brick lower section and modern glass upper section. It was designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.
Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Brunei: $1 billion (£723m)
Built in 1984 at a cost of $400 million (£300m), the equivalent of just over $1 billion (£726m) today, the Sultan of Brunei’s eye-opening home is the largest palace in the world that is still in use as a royal residence. The complex contains a total of 1,788 rooms, including a banqueting hall that can seat 5,000 guests.
New York Times Building, New York: $1.1 billion (£794m)
A soaring skyscraper topped by a pointed spire, the New York Times Building is the 12th tallest skyscraper in the city, measuring 1,047 feet (319m) tall. Built between 2003 and 2007, the 52-storey building serves as the Times‘ company headquarters. The tower contains retail and garden space on the ground floor, has offices going up to the 50th floor, and the top two floors are occupied by a mechanical space and a rooftop conference facility. It cost $850 million (£637m) in 2007, the equivalent of $1.1 billion (£799m) in today’s money.
The Bow, Calgary: $1.1 billion (£794m)
Located in downtown Calgary, Canada, The Bow is recognisable for its unusual curved shape with triangulated sections. The convex facade faces into the direction of prevailing wind, a decision which was made to reduce the load on the structure and therefore the amount of steel needed. Costing $1.1 billion (£794m) to build in 2012, this skyscraper, which is currently the office of a major energy company, is the second tallest office building in Calgary at 774 feet (236m).
Wilshire Grand Center, Los Angeles: $1.2 billion (£868m)
A mixed-use urban development that contains retail and office spaces, an InterContinental hotel, cafes, restaurants and more, the Wilshire Grand Center was built at a cost of $1.2 billion (£868m), with construction starting in 2014 and finishing in 2017. It also holds the title of the tallest building in Los Angeles, with a height of 1,099 feet (335m).
Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, Las Vegas: $1.2 billion (£868m)
Las Vegas is home to plenty of extravagant casinos and hotels and the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa is one of the grandest. Costing $925 million in 2006, equivalent to $1.2 billion (£868m) in today’s money, the casino includes 3,000 slot and video poker machines, 60 table games, a 20-table poker room and a 600-seat bingo hall. Located on 70 acres of land next to Red Rock Canyon, it was the first luxury resort to be built off the Las Vegas strip, sitting approximately 10 miles (16km) away.
Bank of America Tower, New York: $1.28 billion (£930m)
The Bank of America Tower in New York is one of the most sustainable skyscrapers on the planet, becoming the first commercial high-rise to receive LEED Platinum certification, the highest credential awarded by the US Green Building Council. The structure, which serves primarily as home to the Bank of America but also contains the offices for a real estate company and a law firm, was completed in 2009 at a cost of $1 billion, which is $1.28 billion (£930m) in today’s money.
Niagara Falls Hilton Tower 2, Ontario: $1.28 billion (£930m)
Hilton hotels can be found all over the world but few have such mesmerising views as this. The Niagara Falls Hilton Tower 2 was originally meant to have 58 floors and rise to 581 feet (177m), but was reduced to 53 floors with a reported height of 531 feet (162m), although it’s still the tallest hotel in Canada. It cost $1 billion in 2009, the equivalent of $1.28 billion (£930m) in today’s money.
MGM Grand, Macau: $1.29 billion (£937m)
With two hotel towers created from eight cantilevered boxes, the design of the MGM Grand in Macau is inspired by a jewellery box. The structure covers a total area equivalent to 30 tennis courts and it’s also recognised by Guinness World Records for having the world’s largest self-supporting free-span gridshell glazed roof. The luxurious resort came with a hefty price tag of $975 million when it was completed in 2007, which is equivalent to $1.29 billion (£937m) today.
Wembley Stadium, London: $1.3 billion (£945m)
The first stadium in the world with a price tag in excess of $1 billion, Wembley Stadium in North London cost a total of $1.3 million (£945m) in today’s money. Completed in 2006, the iconic home of English football seats 90,000 spectators and is crowned by a prominent arch.
220 Central Park South, New York: $1.4 billion (£1bn)
Dubbed the “limestone tower” in local media due to the fact it’s clad in Alabama Silver Shadow limestone, the 952-feet (290m) 220 Central Park South is home to some of the most exclusive apartments in New York. It opened in 2018 after costing $1.4 billion (£1bn) to build. In January 2022, a penthouse apartment in the building sold for an enormous $188 million (£141m).
CapitaGreen, Singapore: $1.4 billion (£1bn)
Situated in the heart of Singapore’s business district, the 40-storey CapitaGreen building has been recognised for its eco-friendly design and has earned several awards. “Green” in every sense of the word, vegetation covers more than half of its facade, which helps to reduce heat in the summertime, while floor-to-ceiling double glazing keeps the warmth in when it’s cooler. The innovative structure didn’t come cheap though, coming in at a grand total of $1.4 billion (£1bn) when it was completed in 2014.
Comcast Innovation and Technology Center: $1.5 billion (£1.1bn)
American telecoms giant Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia and in 2018 it added the 1,121-feet (342m) Comcast Innovation and Technology Center to its cluster of HQ buildings in the heart of the city. Designed by British architecture firm Foster + Partners, with the vision of creating a “Silicon Valley-style” workplace, the building brings together a mix of work spaces and TV studios, shops, bars, restaurants and a 12-storey Four Seasons hotel. It cost $1.5 billion (£1.1bn) to build.
Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai: $1.5 billion (£1.1bn)
With its distinctive bottle opener-shaped structure, the Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC) was created to be a “magnet” bringing together information and financial services under one roof. The 1,614-feet (492m) building is located in the Pudong New Area, surrounded by other tall skyscrapers including the Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower. It was completed in 2008 at a cost of $1.2 billion. That’s equivalent to $1.5 billion (£1.1bn) today.
Chifley Tower, Sydney: $1.6 billion (£1.16bn)
The tallest building in Sydney, Chifley Tower was constructed between 1988 and 1992 at a total cost of AU$1.2 billion at the time, AU$2.3 billion ($1.6bn/£1.16bn) in today’s money. Initially owned by the international conglomerate Bond Corporation, it was transferred to Japanese construction company Kumagai Gumi in 1992 after Bond Corporation went bankrupt. Today, it’s home to prestigious office spaces, as well as retail stores, bars and restaurants.
Seat of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt: $1.6 billion (£1.16bn)
Plagued by a series of construction problems and delays, the new Seat of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt went massively over budget, with the total cost of the skyscraper complex hitting €1.4 billion ($1.6bn/£1.16bn) upon its completion in 2014.
Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide: $1.7 billion (£1.2bn)
Major hospitals don’t come cheap, but the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia is by far the priciest ever built, according to Emporis. The 800-bed mega hospital is the biggest Down Under and opened its doors in September 2017, 17 months behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget at AU$2.44 billion ($1.7bn/£1.2bn).
Parliament House, Canberra: $1.8 billion (£1.3bn)
Australia’s current parliament building was built in 1988 at a cost of AU$1.1 billion. That’s the equivalent of AU$2.5 billion ($1.8bn/£1.3bn) today. The modern structure, which is designed in the shape of two boomerangs and topped by an imposing flagpole, contains as many as 4,700 rooms.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai: $1.9 billion (£1.38bn)
Standing at a stomach-churning 2,722 feet (830m) high, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is hands down the tallest structure on the planet, but it isn’t even the most expensive building in Dubai. The skyscraper was completed in 2009 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the equivalent of $1.9 billion (£1.38bn) in today’s money.
Truist Place, Tampa: $1.9 billion (£1.38bn)
The Truist Place tower, formerly known as SunTrust Financial Center, in Tampa, Florida cost $1 billion to build when it was finished in 1992, or just under $1.9 billion (£1.38bn) in today’s money. The building is topped by a characteristic multi-stepped pyramid, the technical term for which is a “ziggurat”, which is illuminated by roughly 300 LED lights that shine in different colours at different times of the year.
Myer Center, Adelaide: $1.9 billion (£1.38bn)
In 1989, the Myer Center in Adelaide was touted by local newspapers as Australia’s “largest downtown shopping centre” and the building attracted around 200,000 visitors on its opening day in June 1991. Over 30 years later the mall is still going strong, having undergone significant refurbishments in 2013 and 2014. It cost AU$1 billion when it was built, the equivalent of $1.9 billion (£1.38bn) in today’s money.
The Shard, London: $1.9 billion (£1.38bn)
Completed in July 2012, Italian architect Renzo Piano’s 1,016-feet (310m) masterpiece was the EU’s tallest building until the UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The pointed building was also briefly the tallest building in Europe, until Mercury City in Moscow overtook it in September 2012. The cost of the entire development of the Shard, which included revamping areas around London Bridge railway station, totalled around $1.9 billion (£1.38bn).
Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong: $2 billion (£1.4bn)
The Bank of China Tower is one of Hong Kong’s most recognisable buildings and at 1,033.5 feet (315m) high, it’s the first supertall skyscraper to be built outside the US. Eye-watering at the time, the construction bill for the building totalled $1 billion in 1990. That’s the equivalent of $2 billion (£1.4bn) in today’s money.
MGM Grand Resort & Casino, Las Vegas: $2 billion (£1.4bn)
Located on the Las Vegas Strip, the MGM Grand Resort & Casino opened in 1993 at a cost of $1.1 billion, equivalent to $2 billion (£1.4bn) today. It has four 30-storey towers with 6,852 rooms, as well as a 171,500 square feet (15,930 square metre) casino and 380,000 square feet (35,300 square metres) of convention space.
Antilia, Mumbai: $2 billion (£1.4bn)
The most expensive private residence on the planet, Antilia is the Mumbai home of billionaire Mukesh Ambani. The super-ostentatious 27-storey tower was completed in 2010, and is thought to have cost its owner a massive $2 billion (£1.4bn).
200 West Street, New York: $2.1 billion (£1.5bn)
The global headquarters of investment bank Goldman Sachs was never going to be a budget affair. Its luxurious $2.1 billion (£1.5bn) head office in New York opened its doors in 2010.
Princess Tower, Dubai: $2.2 billion (£1.59bn)
Dubai’s priciest building and its third tallest structure after the Burj Khalifa, the Princess Tower was also the tallest residential-only building in the world when it opened in 2012, a title it lost in 2015. The tower was built for approximately $2.2 billion (£1.59bn).
Kyoto Station, Kyoto: $2.2 billion (£1.59bn)
Kyoto’s eponymous railway terminus comprises a 15-storey building that houses everything from a hotel to a department store. The world’s most expensive rail station was completed in 1997 at a cost of around $1.3 billion, the equivalent of $2.2 billion (£1.59bn) in today’s money, but is only Japan’s second-largest after Nagoya Station.
The Palazzo, Las Vegas: $2.3 billion (£1.6bn)
The Palazzo casino resort in Las Vegas is the second largest hotel in the world and and one of Sin City’s tallest structures. Completed in 2007, the opulent resort cost $1.8 billion. That’s the equivalent of $2.3 billion (£1.6bn) in today’s money.
Shanghai Tower, Shanghai: $2.4 billion (£1.7bn)
Standing 2,073 feet (632m) high, Shanghai’s twisty tower boasts all sorts of records, from the world’s fastest lifts to the highest observation deck on the planet. It opened in 2014, having cost $2.4 billion (£1.7bn) to build.
Bellagio, Las Vegas: $2.4 billion (£1.7bn)
The total construction bill for MGM’s Bellagio casino resort in Las Vegas came to $1.6 billion in 1998, which equates to around $2.6 billion (£1.87bn) in today’s money. The resort boasts more than 3,000 rooms and acres of gaming space.
Lotte World Tower, Seoul: $2.5 billion (£1.8bn)
Reaching a whopping 1,820 feet (555m), this is the tallest building in South Korea. The 123-storey tower boasts office space, private residences, a hotel, sky bar and observation deck. Construction started in 2010 and the Lotte World Tower opened in 2017 at a cost of approximately $2.5 billion (£1.8bn).
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City: $2.5 billion (£1.8bn)
Previously known as the Trump Taj Mahal, former US president Trump built and owned the hotel and casino, describing it as “the eighth wonder of the world”. The cost to build in 1990 was $1.2 billion. That’s the equivalent of $2.5 billion (£1.8bn) in today’s money. The blingy 120,000 square foot (11,000 square metre) complex eventually became unprofitable and shut for good in October 2016, but has since reopened as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Tapei 101, Tapei: $2.5 billion (£1.8bn)
When it was completed in 2004 Tapei 101 in Taiwan was the world’s tallest building, but five years later it was usurped by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The postmodern skyscraper, which blends traditional and contemporary styles, cost $1.8 billion to build at the time. That’s the equivalent of $2.5 billion (£1.8bn) today.
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur: $2.6 billion (£1.87bn)
The spectacular twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia held the title of the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. Designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, the Petronas Towers cost around $1.6 billion to construct during the late 1990s, the equivalent of $2.6 billion (£1.87bn) today.
Yankee Stadium, New York: $2.9 billion (£2.1bn)
The replacement Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York cost $2.3 billion to construct in 2009, the equivalent of $2.9 billion (£2.1bn) in today’s money, making it the most expensive stadium ever built until overtaken by SoFi in Los Angeles in 2020. Controversially, a hefty $1.2 billion of public money was used to fund the project.
City of Dreams, Macau: $3 billion (£2.1bn)
The City of Dreams is the second largest resort and casino complex in Macau. Opening to the public in 2009, the slick complex, which features a gigantic aquarium and bubble fountain among other attractions, cost $2.4 billion to build at the time. That’s the equivalent of $3 billion (£2.1bn) today.
The Venetian Macao, Macau: $3.37 billion (£2.39bn)
Staying in Macau, next up is the autonomous territory’s largest resort and casino complex, The Venetian Macao. Situated opposite the City of Dreams, the 39-storey tower, which is modelled on its counterpart in Las Vegas, was completed in 2007 at a cost of $2.4 billion, which is $3.37 billion (£2.39bn) in today’s money.
Wynn Resort, Las Vegas, $3.7 billion (£2.68bn)
One of the swankiest hotel and casino complexes in Las Vegas, the Wynn launched in 2005. The construction bill for this luxury 2,716-room complex hit $2.7 billion, around $3.7 billion (£2.68bn) in today’s money.
One World Trade Center, New York: $3.9 billion (£2.8bn)
One World Trade Center is the principal building in the rebuilt World Trade complex in New York. It stands 1,776 feet (541m) tall to symbolise the year when the United States Declaration of Independance was signed. The skyscraper was completed in 2013 at a cost of $3.9 billion (£2.8bn) and is now the tallest building in the US.
Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest: $3.9 billion (£2.8bn)
Thousands of workers died and swathes of Bucharest were destroyed to make way for Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s monstrous Palace of the Parliament, which sprawls over tens of acres. The construction of the building, which began in 1984, cost a total of $3.9 billion (£2.8bn) in today’s money.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: $4.2 billion (£3bn)
A hotel rather than a royal residence, the Emirates Palace in Dubai is as regal as they come. Completed in 2005 at a cost of $3 billion (£2.25bn), the hotel has a total of 394 residences, not to mention two spas, a cavernous ballroom and scores of shops and restaurants. Taking inflation into account the build cost around $4.2 billion (£3bn) in today’s money.
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas: $4.9 billion (£3.5bn)
The 3,027-room Cosmopolitan cost an eye-watering $3.9 billion to build in 2009. That’s the equivalent of $4.9 billion (£3.5bn) in today’s money. The art-themed hotel and casino comprises two high-rise towers and houses everything from a 3,200-seat theatre to a gargantuan spa and fitness centre. The complex was sold to MGM Resorts International in 2021 for $5.65 billion (£4.23bn).
Apple Park, Cupertino: $5 billion (£3.6bn)
Apple, which reached a $3 trillion (£2.25tn) valuation in 2022, is the richest company in the world, with more spare cash than many developing countries, so it’s only natural the firm would pump billions into its shiny new HQ in Cupertino, California. The campus, which was completed in early 2017, cost an estimated $5 billion (£3.6bn) in total.
SoFi Stadium, California: $5.5 billion (£3.9bn)
Home to both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, the SoFi Stadium cost a staggering $5.5 billion (£3.9bn) to build, making it the most expensive stadium in the world. Construction began in 2016 and was completed in 2020. The mammoth stadium has a maximum capacity of 100,000 people.
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore: $5.5 billion (£3.9bn)
Singapore’s sensational Marina Bay Sands complex wows with the world’s most awesome infinity pool, the largest atrium casino ever built, a 2,561-room luxury hotel and a lot more. The landmark complex was completed in 2010 at a cost of $5.5 billion (£3.9bn).
Abraj Al Bait, Mecca: $15 billion (£10.9bn)
Towering over Mecca, the Abraj Al Bait is a complex of seven skyscrapers that were built in 2012 at a cost of $15 billion (£10.9bn) to house pilgrims performing the Hajj. The complex is spread out over 34 acres and features the world’s largest clock face.
Masjid al-Haram, Mecca: $100 billion (£72.6bn)
Islam’s most sacred site and the largest mosque in the world, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia – which covers 99 acres and can accommodate up to four million people during the Hajj – is estimated to have cost a colossal $100 billion (£72.6bn) in total. Architectural components have been on the site since the 7th century, but renovations that took place in the 16th and 17th centuries created the main shape of what we see today. There have been other renovations since. Saudi Arabia is now planning to spend another $100 billion (£72.6bn) on expanding the site so that 30 million worshippers will be able to perform the Hajj by 2030.
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