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By the time that construction of the Empire State Building had been completed in 1931, the total cost of the project was estimated at almost $41 million. Taking into account inflation, this would put the cost of construction at around $500 million in today's terms. Either way, that looks like an incredible bargain, when compared to more recent commercial property transactions.

This list examines the 5 most expensive commercial property deals in history. For comparison purposes, we've used 2012 valuations to estimate construction costs:

5. The Shard, London

The Shard London
Photo by Chris Chabot

Completed in 2013, The Shard has 87 floors and reaches a height of 310 meters. Reputed to have cost almost $4 billion to construct, the building is part-owned by the ruling family of Qatar.

At present, 35% of the floor space of the building remains unoccupied, although tenants are known to include Al Jazeera and South Hook Gas. A number of floors are being used to host popular restaurants, while a hotel takes up 19 floors. There's a viewing gallery available for those wishing to gain access to one of the finest views in the city of London and it’s worth noting that The Shard has transformed London’s skyline.

4. The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Estimated to have cost $4.16 billion, The Cosmopolitan includes two towers, forming a hotel and casino complex. 

With a high profile location on The Strip, The Cosmopolitan has quickly become a favorite haunt for the rich and famous. Celebrities are attracted by the 5-star service that's on offer, with The Cosmopolitan having recent been voted the best hotel on the planet.

The building is currently owned by Blackstone Group, having been sold by Deutsche Bank earlier this year.


3. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Despite being the shortest building on this list, the Emirates Palace is perhaps the entry that is most associated with opulence. Often rated as a 7-star hotel, the structure is surrounded by more than 85 hectares of gardens.

Having cost almost $4.5 billion to construct, the hotel has a dedicated marina, together with a helipad. The interior of the building makes extensive use of marble and gold, with the best rooms being reserved for members of the Emirates royal family. For those wishing to stay in this luxury hotel, room prices hit the eye-watering level of $12,000 per night. This is an exclusive hotel, with prices to match.


2. Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

Resorts World Sentosa Singapore
Photo by William Cho

At more than $5 billion, Resorts World Sentosa is the second most expensive commercial building on the planet. Part of a sprawling complex that includes two casinos and a theme park, Resorts World Sentosa occupies in excess of 49 hectares of land.

Construction was completed in January 2010, with building work having commenced less than three years earlier. The resort includes a number of restaurants that are operated by respected chefs, including L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. There are also numerous boutiques, representing some of the best known names in fashion, with examples including Jimmy Choo, Versace and Ralph Lauren.

1. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Astonishingly, Resorts World Sentosa cannot even claim to have been the most expensive property deal in the history of Singapore. That particular accolade goes to Marina Bay Sands, which analysts suggest cost a hefty $6 billion to construct.

Reaching a height of 194 meters, Marina Bay Sands is a resort that is built on 20 hectares of land. Offering more than 2,500 luxury hotel rooms and a panoramic view of the Singapore skyline, Marina Bay Sands also includes a 150 meter infinity pool, which many visitors suggest is the real highlight of the structure.

Looking at the list of commercial properties mentioned above, it's clear that some of the figures that are mentioned seem difficult to contemplate. It's amazing to think, however, that these deals will undoubtedly all be overtaken in the near future, as commercial properties become grander and grander.