INCHEON-Incheon City has signed an agreement with a consortium led by US-based real estate developer Portman Holdings to build the second-tallest building in the world in the city’s developing area, city officials say.

This port city is located 40 kilometers west of Seoul. The agreement covers a plot of about 3.72 sm in Songdo International City, according to city officials. The site forms part of the International City, earmarked as the Incheon Free Economic Zone, and which South Korea is seeking to turn into a business hub in Northeast Asia.

Portman has organized a consortium for the business with two major South Korean construction companies, Samsung Corp. and Hyundai Engineering & Construction to build the twin buildings, named Incheon Tower, by 2010.

The twin buildings will be connected by three sky bridges in the middle of the buildings and have a total floor space of 528,000 sm. The consortium will also develop land around the building into housing, leisure, sports and cultural facilities. The 610-meter-high, 151-story Incheon Tower will be the second tallest building after the 706-meter, 160 story Burj Dubai to be completed in Dubai by 2008.

In 2003, the government designated the port cities of Incheon, Busan-Jinhae and Gwangyang as Korea’s first free economic zones, the purpose being to attract foreign capital. As of March, Incheon FEZ had secured $27.3 billion worth of foreign investment.

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