2019 A Record Year for Supertall Building Construction

While supertall building completions continue to grow each year, the completion of buildings taller than 656 feet (200 meters) slipped from last year’s number. That trend was analyzed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) in its “Tall Buildings in 2019” report.

This year, 26 supertall buildings were completed, up from 18 last year which was a record at the time. CTBUH defines supertall buildings as being 984 feet (300 meters) or taller. However, 126 buildings taller than 656 feet were completed in 2019, down 13.7% from 146 completions in 2018. Despite the drop, the completion figure was still within CTBUH’s range of 120-150 predicted at the end of 2018.

“This is the first year in which the overall completion figure declined since the 2010 to 2011 gap, which was attributed to the lag effect of project cancellations due to the 2008 recession,” reads the report.

The tallest building completed this year was the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre in China, now the seventh tallest building in the world at 1,738 feet (530 meters). China represented 45% of the tall building completions with 57 of the 126 tall buildings. Last year, the country accounted for 63% of the total. Asia, excluding the Middle East, contributed 69%, or 87 of the 126 completions, in 2019.

“At the city scale, Shenzhen, China, was once again the world champion, besting its own record for the fourth time in a row, with 15 completions, for 11.9% of the global total, surpassing all other countries besides China, let alone cities. The next-most prolific city was Dubai, with nine completions,” reads the report.

The U.S. accounted for the second most completions with 14, or 11% of this year’s total. The United Arab Emirates had nine completions and the Middle East overall recorded 11 completions.

The Top 20 Tallest

Of the top 20 tallest buildings completed in 2019, three were built in the U.S., all in New York City. 30 Hudson Yards was the tallest building completed in the U.S. and North America this year at 1,121 feet (341.7 meters). It is now the third tallest building in New York City and the fifth tallest in the U.S. and North America. However, it was only the seventh tallest building completed this year worldwide. 53 West 53, part of the Museum of Modern Art Expansion in New York, also made the top 20 at 1,050 feet (320.1 meters). It was the 18th tallest building completed in the world this year. At number 20 is 35 Hudson Yards, which stands at 1,010 feet (307.8 meters).

“… the U.S. seems to be maintaining a steady state of development, dominated by New York, where the market for tall and thin is typically strongest; still, the nation’s total this year also incorporates some outliers such as Boston and Austin, which may reflect sharpening desire for dense urban living in smaller markets,” reads the report.

Transit-Oriented Development

CTBUH identified transit-oriented development as a major trend in 2019 as the demand for high-quality real estate and optimal connectivity continued to increase. The Hudson Yards and Manhattan West developments in New York City are examples of the trend with One Manhattan West, and 15, 30 and 35 Hudson Yards, all over 200 meters, being completed this year.

Skybridges were another project trend, with the most notable examples built in Asia.

2020 Predictions

CTBUH is projecting that between 115 and 145 buildings taller than 200 meters will be completed in 2020. Of those, between 17 and 30 are anticipated to be supertall buildings, including two in New York City.

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