Al Khobar Corniche ... set for development.

The Eastern Province Municipal authorities have begun the tendering process for an ambitious public-private-partnership (PPP) waterfront project to be developed on a sprawling 60,960-sq-m area along Al Khobar Corniche, a key location in the Saudi city.

The project in Al Khobar in the Eastern Province of the kingdom aims to attract investors to develop, operate and maintain mixed-use real estate featuring mid-range and luxury-end shopping malls and a hotel on three separate plots of land, according to the municipality. It is to be implemented on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis contract for a period of 25 years.

According to the municipality, the project will be tendered in two phases; Phase One aims to qualify bidders through an Expression of Interest (EoI) with January 2 having been set as the deadline. Earlier, the last date for submitting the EoIs was December 13.

A map showing the location of the three plots on Al Khobar Corniche.

A map showing the location of the three plots on Al Khobar Corniche.

This process will be followed by a Request for Qualification (RFQ), which is expected to be issued on January 9 with a deadline of March 4. Then comes the second phase where qualified bidders – or developer/developer consortiums – will be invited to submit their proposals to vie for the coveted project.

Strategically located in the heart of Al Khobar Corniche, the development has been earmarked to come up along Prince Turki Main Road, on plots of land in close proximity to the Golden Belt and Green Belt neighbourhoods.

The stretch of Al Khobar Corniche to be developed lies close to popular districts, being just 5-7 km from Al-Hizam Al-Thahabi and Al-Hizam Al-Akhdar districts and 10 to 15 km from Al Dana, Telal Al Doha and Al Doha districts. It is in the catchment area of the staff accommodation and homes of retirees from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

As per the joint development agreement (JDA) framework, the Eastern Municipality will hand over the plots to the winning bidder for a fixed concession period to develop them into commercial real estate properties in order to generate revenues.

The scope of work includes operations and maintenance of the mixed-use project in the three separate land plots in Al Khobar. Plot A, spread over a 25,980-sq-m area is expected to see the development of a retail, entertainment, and food and beverage (F&B) complex, while Plot B (also 25,980 sq m) will house a luxury shopping complex, upscale food and beverage outlets and entertainment facilities. The 9,000-sq-m Plot C is likely to see the construction of a luxury hotel as well as an upscale F&B come up in the area.

These facilities planned for the project are expected to attract private sector investment.

The municipal officials say the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs (Momra) had completed all the necessary studies in coordination with the National Centre for Privatization and PPP (NCP) for the tendering process to begin.

This is the second municipal sector initiative launched under the privatisation programme.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) will finance part of the project’s capital expenditures under the Projects Support Fund programme framework, as one of the stimulus initiatives, to support the sustainability and completion of projects – provided that some requirements are met.

– R Sushil Nair