Talk About Getting Uppity

Since 1974, Chicago's 110-story Sears Tower has held the title as the world's tallest building. But the reign of the Windy City landmark, which soars 1,454 feet, may soon be over (chart). Or will it?

A rival is under construction in Malaysia: the 88-story Kuala Lumpur City Centre, twin towers that are due to top out in 1996. Part-owned by Petronas, the state oil company, the $1 billion-plus proj-ect will be 1,476 feet tall. "Come spring, 1996, it will be the highest in the world," brags Steven Poh, a spokesman for the project.

But hold on. Poh is including the decorative steel spires that crown the structures. The highest point on the Sears Tower (other than the two 253-foot broadcast antennas) is inhabitable space. Poh won't reveal how tall the spires will be, insisting that they are "part of the structure," as with New York's Chrysler Building.

Meanwhile, other skyscrapers are in the works that threaten to steal the honors. Groundbreaking is set to start next year on a 1,500-foot, 114-story building in Chongqing, China, that will be done in 1998. Developer Jian Min Fan's colossus "will be the leader," crows Robert Djerejian, senior managing partner at Manhattan-based Haines Lundberg Waehler, project architect. Not so fast. Japanese contractor Ohbayashi wants to erect the 2,624-foot Millennium Tower in Tokyo. No site has been selected, though, and it's still just a concept.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.