How Much Does It Cost to Build a Skyscraper?


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Skyscrapers are large, impressive, and imposing buildings. They can provide unique advantages, as well as negative consequences from their height and stature.

One thing is for sure, building a skyscraper is not a cheap endeavor. Keep reading If you’re wondering how much it costs to build a skyscraper.

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How Expensive Is It to Build a Skyscraper?

The costs for constructing a skyscraper will vary depending on the size, materials, location, and other factors. The average American skyscraper will cost anywhere from half a billion to over 1.5 billion USD. The average price per floor in New York is $15 million, and in Chicago, it’s $6.2 million.

What Is a Skyscraper?

There is no universally accepted way to define skyscrapers. However, a skyscraper is typically defined as a tall and continuously habitable building with multiple floors. The modern definition for skyscrapers state they must be at least 330 feet or 490 feet in height. Skyscrapers typically host offices, hotels, residential areas, or retail venues.

How Many Floors Does a Skyscraper Have?

In the past, buildings with 10 to 20 stories were considered skyscrapers. Nowadays, it’s commonly accepted that a skyscraper must have at least 40 stories or more. The largest skyscraper is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, with 163 floors and one below the ground.

The tallest skyscraper in the United States is the One World Trade Center in New York City. It’s the seventh-largest building in the world and has 94 floors above ground with five underneath.

Are Skyscrapers the Same as High Rise Buildings?

The terms skyscraper and high-rise buildings are commonly used interchangeably. However, these two structures differ slightly. High-rise buildings have 13 stories or more. Skyscrapers are considered tall high-rises with over 40 floors. Both of these buildings require the use of vertical mechanical transportation, such as elevators.

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What Determines the Cost of a Skyscraper?

As mentioned earlier, the costs of a skyscraper will depend on various factors. The height, size, materials, labor costs, and location affect the price. The average American skyscraper may cost around $500 million, depending on the location. In cheaper cities, the cost could be under $300 million to well over $1 billion. Let’s take a deeper look at what determines skyscraper cost.


The location, city, and state play a vital role in the costs of building a skyscraper. In NYC, you can expect to pay around 5.2 million USD per acre of land. In Los Angeles, California, you might only pay upwards of $3 million per acre. In Chicago, one might expect to pay half a million per acre of urban land.

Cost of Excavation

The next step is excavation after you select your location and plot of land. This step can rack up a hefty amount of expenses, as you have to remove rock and soil and level the land for construction.

The total cost will also vary depending on the size of the hole and the job. It may cost anywhere between $100,00 to $450,000 per acre, depending on the location.

Skyscraper Architect

Skyscrapers require great teams of people to ensure everything runs smoothly and is structurally sound. The skyscraper architect is an integral member of this team.

Well-known and respected architects can charge upwards of 10 million USD for their expertise. Less known and notable architects may have more affordable rates. However, you run the risk of mistakes, issues, and inexperience.

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Costs Per Floor

The costs per floor also play a crucial role in the total expenses used to build a skyscraper. For example, the average price per floor in New York City is around $15 million. In Chicago, you’re likely to pay under $7 million per floor.

Cost of Materials

Skyscrapers require a lot of steel during the construction process. Steel is probably the most crucial material in a skyscraper’s structure. Skyscrapers can require anywhere from 50,000 tons to over 200,000 tons of steel during the building process. Skimping out on steel can lead to structural issues and costly mistakes down the line.

The price of steel can vary depending on the quality, type, and thickness. High-quality fabricated steel can cost anywhere from $1,000 per ton all the way up to $1,600 per ton. If you opt for unfabricated steel, you may be looking at $700 to $1,200 per ton.


Labor is an integral and expensive part of the construction process. Skyscrapers typically require anywhere from 50 to 100 workers at a time. The price will vary depending on the location, company, job size, and average hourly wage.

For instance, the cost of labor might be as high as $3,000 per hour. Smaller construction companies may only charge $1,000 per hour for their services. Keep in mind that it’s not always the best option to go with the affordability. Choosing trusted, respected, and experienced workers can help you avoid issues down the line.

Are Skyscrapers Expensive?

Yes, skyscrapers are expensive. The cost of a skyscraper will vary depending on the size, materials, location, and other factors. The average American skyscraper may cost anywhere from $500 Million to well over $1.5 Billion. The largest skyscraper in America costs around $3.9 Billion to build. The largest skyscraper in the world is the Burj Khalifa, costing roughly 3.5 billion USD.

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