The Most Expensive Buildings Ever Made

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: Hu Chen/Unsplash

There are a ton of impressive buildings around the world that are instantly recognizable from photographs. Have you ever thought about how much each one must have cost to build? Or out of all the lavish buildings in the world, which ones are the most expensive?

From fancy casinos to extravagant palaces to sleek skyscrapers, here is a list of 30 of the most expensive buildings ever built. Whether gaudy or graceful, all of these buildings cost a pretty penny to make.

Masjid al-Haram Abraj Al Bait, Mecca

Masjid al-Haram Abraj Al Bait in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is the largest mosque on Earth and Islam’s most sacred place. It is estimated to have cost $100 billion to build. It’s also known as the Great Mosque of Mecca.

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Photo Courtesy: Haidan Soendawy/Unsplash

The building surrounds the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam, and it’s the final destination for the Hajj, an important pilgrimage that all Muslims are supposed to complete once in their lives. The mosque covers a huge 400,800 square meters (99 acres) and can hold up to four million people. Some parts of the mosque date back to the 16th century.

Abraj Al Bait, Mecca

The Abraj Al Bait in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is a large hotel complex consisting of seven skyscrapers. Owned by the Saudi government, this complex was built right by the Great Mosque of Mecca for the purpose of hosting pilgrims from around the world.

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Photo Courtesy: Yousef Madari/Wikimedia Commons

Spread out over 34 acres, the complex was constructed in 2012 and cost $16 billion. The central hotel tower is the world’s third tallest building with a height of 601 meters. As well as holding the Clock Tower Museum, it also features the world’s largest clock face.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Opened in 2010 with a cost of $5.5 billion, this is the world’s most expensive integrated resort ever built. Owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation, it includes a 2,561 room hotel, convention center and shopping mall.

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Photo Courtesy: Hu Chen/Unsplash

It also has a museum, two theatres, an indoor ice skating rink, seven restaurants featuring celebrity chefs, art and science exhibitions and the largest atrium casino in the world. At the top of the complex is a 240 meter long skywalk and infinity pool.

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Apple Park, Cupertino

Apple is one of the world’s largest companies, which is why it comes as no surprise that its headquarters is also one of the most expensive buildings in the world. The company’s HQ in Cupertino, California opened to employees in 2017 and cost $5 billion to construct.

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Photo Courtesy: Carles Rabada/Unsplash

The four-story building covers an area of approximately 260,000 square meters. Before his death, Steve Jobs mentioned that he wanted the area to look more like a nature refuge than an office compound, and 80% of the site is covered in green space.

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan is a luxury casino and hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. It cost $3.9 billion to build this art-themed resort. It has two 184 meter tall high rise towers — the Boulevard Tower and the Chelsea Tower.

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Photo Courtesy: favoritesunfl/Pixabay

The casino spreads over 10,000 square meters, while the resort includes 3,027 rooms, retail and restaurant space, spa and fitness facilities, a theatre seating 3,200 people and convention space. It has been rated one of the world’s top hotels multiple times by different companies.

Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest

The Palace of the Parliament is the seat of the Romanian parliament. Price tagged at $3.9 billion, this is also the world’s heaviest building, weighing approximately 4,098,500,000 kilograms. Constructed over 13 years, the palace has a floor area of 365,000 square meters.

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Photo Courtesy: Arvid Olson/Pixabay

It was ordered built by Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1984. It is the world’s second largest administrative building and has over 3,000 rooms. There are several museums in the palace that are open to the public.

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One World Trade Center, New York

The One World Trade Center is the primary building in the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York. It cost $3.8 billion to build and stands at 541 meters tall, making it the tallest building in America and the Western Hemisphere.

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Photo Courtesy: Tahmo/Pixabay

Also known as Freedom Tower, it shares the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Centre which was demolished in the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The current Freedom Tower sits on the same site as the original Six World Trade Center.

Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Although the name might suggest otherwise, the Emirates Palace is actually a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Completed in 2005, it cost $3 billion to construct. Operated by Kempinski Hotels, this five star resort is considered one of the most luxurious hotels in the UAE.

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Photo Courtesy: Artur Aldyrkhanov/Unsplash

The hotel has a floor area of 850,000 square meters, featuring 394 suites, two spas, four restaurants, three bars, lounges, two swimming pools and a ballroom. But that isn’t everything – it also has 1.3 kilometers of private beach right on its doorstep.

Wynn Resort, Las Vegas

The Wynn Resort opened in 2005 and cost $2.7 billion to build. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard in the eponymous city, the complex is sprawled over 215 acres and is 187 meters high with 45 floors.

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Photo Courtesy: Scott Webb/Unsplash

Alongside its 17,600 square meters casino, the Wynn Resort has 2,716 rooms, a convention center and retail space. It is currently the world’s seventh largest hotel. The resort has received multiple awards including five Michelin stars and the same rating from Forbes.

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The Venetian Macao, Macao

The Venetian Macao is the largest luxury hotel and casino in Macao, China. Owned by the American developer Las Vegas Sands, The Venetian cost $2.4 billion to build. The 39-story building is modeled on its sister resort, the Venetian Las Vegas.

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Photo Courtesy: Melv_L/Wikimedia Commons

Opened in 2007, the resort has 3,000 suites and retail space. The casino itself is laid out over 51,000 square meters and has 3,400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables as well as the Cotai Arena which sits 15,000 people for entertainment and sporting events.

City of Dreams, Macao

Also situated in Macao is the City of Dreams, Macao’s second largest resort and casino complex. Coming in at a hefty $2.4 billion, this lavish complex is owned by Melco Crown Entertainment and, funnily enough, is actually located right opposite The Venetian Macao.

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Photo Courtesy: WiNG/Wikimedia Commons

Constructed in a podium style design, the grand complex has four hotel towers – Hard Rock Hotel, Crown Towers Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Macau (an alternate spelling for Macao) which claims two towers. The podium is built over three floors and includes a gigantic casino and more than 200 shopping outlets.

The Shard, London

This is the European Union’s tallest building at 310 meters and 95 stories high. It cost $2.4 billion, which included refurbishing areas around London Bridge Station. It is part of the Shard Quarter development and was inaugurated in July 2012.

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The skyscraper is made up of a 26 floor office complex, ten residential apartments, three restaurants, and the Shangri-La Hotel. It also hosts a viewing gallery, The View From the Shard. Some of the tenants in The Shard include the HCA (Hospitals Corporation of America) and Al Jazeera English.

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Shanghai Tower, Shanghai

The Shanghai Tower in China is the world’s second tallest building, standing at 632 meters high. Construction finished in 2013, and the total cost came to $2.4 billion. It is also home to the world’s second fastest elevator, which runs at 20.5 meters per second.

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Photo Courtesy: Nico Franz/Pixabay

In addition to being the second tallest building, it has the world’s joint highest observation deck, which it shares with the Ping An Finance Center). This structure opened to the public in 2017 and offers amazing views over the city and — on a clear day — the Yangtze River.

Yankee Stadium, New York

The replacement Yankee Stadium in New York was built in 2009 and cost $2.3 billion, granting itself the award for most expensive stadium ever built. It’s the home of the New York Yankees baseball team and New York City FC.

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The stadium also hosts events such as concerts, college football games and soccer matches. There's been much controversy around the construction of the stadium for several reasons. $1.2 billion of its building cost was from public subsidies. There was also environmental concern around the loss of public parkland.

Princess Tower, Dubai

With a $2.2 billion price tag, this is Dubai’s priciest building and third tallest after the Burj Khalifa and Marina 101. At 413.4 meters, it was the tallest residential building in the world until the title was taken from it by 432 Park Avenue in New York.

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Photo Courtesy: Steven Straiton/Flickr

The building comprises of 763 above-ground units, 957 underground units, and eight retail outlets. This extravagant skyscraper is also home to indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness facilities, game rooms, a children’s play area, a banquet hall, and an observation deck.

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200 West Street, New York

200 West Street is home to the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs’s headquarters. Based on this fact alone, we’re not expecting the building to come cheap. Opening in 2010, it cost a massive $2.1 billion to build. The building is 228 meters tall and 44 stories high.

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Photo Courtesy: Henning Klokkerasen/Flickr

20 West Street is particularly notable in that it has an environmentally friendly design resulting in a gold LEED certification. The building has an underfloor air system, which means there is less production waste and a much lower running cost for the building.

Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide

While hospitals aren’t cheap to build, the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, Australia is one of the most expensive to have ever been made. At $2.1 billion, this is South Australia’s largest hospital. It’s owned by the state government.

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Photo Courtesy: Sandyx99/Wikimedia Commons

The original Adelaide Hospital was constructed in 1840. The prefix ‘Royal’ was added in 1939 and in 2017 it was replaced by the new hospital. Situated on 25 acres, the hospital is estimated to have around 6,000 staff members. All rooms consist of single patient ensuites.

Antilia, Mumbai

This building is slightly different from the rest on the list, as it’s not a public building but rather a private home. Antilia in Mumbai, India is the home of billionaire Mukesh Ambani. It’s estimated to have cost him $2 billion to build.

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Photo Courtesy: Jay Hariani/Flickr

At 27 stories and 173 meters tall, this mega mansion is considered the world’s most expensive residential property after Buckingham Palace. It has three helipads, a ballroom, a theatre, terrace garden, and a temple. Naturally, the building has caused controversy, both in India and internationally, over its ostentation.

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Taipei 101, Taipei

Taipei 101 cost $1.8 billion to construct and was once the world’s tallest building from 2004 until it was taken over in 2010 by the Burj Khalifa. Its architectural style combines traditional Asian styles with modern structures and industrial materials.

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Photo Courtesy: Marina Perez/Unsplash

The skyscraper is designed with earthquakes and tropical storms in mind, as both are frequent in Taipei. It was awarded a Platinum rating from the LEED certification system, making it the tallest and largest green building in the world. It consists of offices, restaurants and indoor and outdoor observatories.

The Palazzo, Las Vegas

The Palazzo is a hotel and casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada and is the tallest building in the state and the second in the Western Hemisphere. Completed in 2007, the Palazzo cost $1.8 billion to build.

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Photo Courtesy: Andrew Milligan/Flickr

The resort and casino are part of a larger complex that includes the Venetian Resort and Casino and the Sands Convention Center. The Palazzo boasts the largest accommodation on the Las Vegas Strip and is the second largest hotel in the world with 7,117 guest rooms.

Bellagio, Las Vegas

Bellagio is a resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. Opening in 1998, it cost $1.6 billion to construct. Bellagio has a reputation for its extravagance and is known for the eight acre lake between the main building and the Strip.

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Photo Courtesy: Bernard Spragg/Flickr

The building is also home to the Fountains of Bellagio, a dancing water installation that synchronizes to music. Additionally, it's home to Dale Chihuly’s Fiori di Como, a ceiling installation of 2,000 hand blown glass flowers. Bellagio is also the site of Cirque du Soleil’s show "O".

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Seat of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt

The seat of the European Central Bank is the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB). Completed in 2014, it cost a massive $1.6 billion to build and was extremely over budget. It's located in Frankfurt, Germany, the largest financial center in the Eurozone.

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Photo Courtesy: Photoheuristic/Flickr

The main office building comprises two towers joined by an atrium and four interchange platforms. The north tower is 185 meters high, while the south tower is 165 meters. The complex includes the former Wholesale Market Hall, Frankfurt’s main fruit and veg market.

Wembley Stadium, London

Wembley Stadium, now branded the Wembley Stadium Connected by EE for sponsorship reasons, cost $1.5 billion to build in 2006. It was the first stadium in the world to cost more than $1 billion to construct. Seating 90,000 people, it's an iconic stadium in the UK.

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Photo Courtesy: JimJimJim2018/Pixabay

The building hosts major football matches, such as the home games of the English national team and the FA Cup Final. It’s also hosted some huge musical performances, including shows by Metallica, Taylor Swift and AC/DC as well as several charity concerts.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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Photo Courtesy: Hans-Jurgen Schmidt/Pixabay

At 829.8 meters high, this is the world’s tallest building. Completed in 2009, it cost an eye-watering $1.5 billion to build. The tower is the result of the government’s decision for Dubai to expand from an oil-based economy and gain international recognition.

The Burj Khalifa is home to the Dubai Fountain, which is illuminated by lights and colored projectors as it shoots water 150 meters into the air. It also houses the Burj Khalifa park which is a 27 acre park that surrounds the tower.

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Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Brunei

The Istana Nurul Iman Palace is home to the sultan of Brunei and the seat of the Brunei government. Built in 1984, it cost a hefty $1.4 billion. The palace complex includes 1,788 rooms, including a dining hall that accommodates up to 5,000 guests.

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Photo Courtesy: de:Benutzer:Chtrede/Wikimedia Commons

The palace also has room for all 7,000 of the Sultan’s cars. It is thought to be the world’s largest residential palace in terms of floor space, winning it a Guinness Book of World Records mention.

Kyoto Station, Kyoto

Kyoto Station is a railway and transport hub. Completed in 1997 at a $1.3 billion price tag, this is one of Japan’s largest buildings. The building also includes a shopping mall, hotel, movie theatre, department store and a few government facilities under its 15-story roof.

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Photo Courtesy: Shuichi Aizawa/Flickr

During the mid 1990s, Kyoto was one of the least developed cities in Japan and was against the idea of such a huge structure. Today, the station is also a popular tourist spot, and it has two tourist information centers inside.

Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City

Opened in 1990, the formerly named casino Trump Taj Mahal cost $1.2 billion to build. It went bankrupt and closed in 2016, but was reopened in 2018 by the Hard Rock International. It is now called The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

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Photo Courtesy: Kevin Wong/Wikimedia Commons

During the Trump Taj Mahal era, the casino went through numerous financial difficulties. The casino that Trump claimed to be the "eighth wonder of the world" had several bankruptcy scares and was taken over by different investors before finally closing after casino workers went on strike.

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Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Built in the late 1990s, they cost $1.2 billion to construct. At 451.9 meters tall, the towers were the world’s tallest building from 1998 to 2004 before being overtaken by Taipei 101.

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels/Pixabay

One of the towers belongs to Petronas, a Malaysian oil and gas company. The other is home to a host of other companies, including Microsoft. In 2009, French climber Alain Robert reached the top of Tower Two with only his hands and feet and no safety devices.

Parliament House, Canberra

Australia’s parliament building cost $1.1 billion to build in 1988. Located in Canberra, the capital of Australia, the building is designed around the shape of two boomerangs with a flagpole on top. It consists of 4,700 rooms, and many of them are open to the public.

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Photo Courtesy: Thennicke/Wikimedia Commons

There is a grand marble staircase in the main foyer that leads to the Great Hall. The House of Representatives is decorated in green, while the Senate has a red color scheme. Meanwhile, the Ministerial Wing is the Prime Minister’s office.

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong

This tower is one of the most well-known buildings in Hong Kong. Completed in 1990, it cost $1 billion to build and was the first skyscraper to be built outside the US. The building is recognizable for its design of triangular frameworks covered by glass walls.

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At the time of construction, the project experienced some controversy for not consulting with feng shui masters on its design. Its sharp edges and negative ‘X’ shapes were criticized, so the architects modified it somewhat to win over the public.

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