Qiddiya ... designed to be Saudi Arabia’s future capital of entertainment, sports and the arts.

Saudi-based Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) says it has awarded construction contracts worth SR2 billion ($532.8 million) over the last 12 months since work began on its giant entertainment hub located near Riyadh.

Qiddiya is designed to be Saudi Arabia’s future capital of entertainment, sports and the arts as a keystone of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s blueprint for long-term prosperity.

QIC, which is owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), says the most recent contract award, a three-year SR1.1-billion agreement to construct major roads and bridges on the upper plateau of the site, was to a joint venture of Haif & Freyssinet, taking the total contract value to over SR2 billion.

Chief Development Officer Kareem Shamma says: “Reaching the SR2 billion mark is a very important milestone for us, but what’s more important is that these contracts went through a tough and competitive bid process, and were won by Saudi firms, and this, wholeheartedly, supports our intention to contribute to the growth of the domestic economy.”

“It is also indicative of our continued commitment to creating the kingdom’s entertainment, sports and arts hub. Businesses across the globe have been affected adversely due to the global pandemic but we have been steadfast in our vision, and fortunate to have the continued and unwavering support from our leadership to stay on track, deliver on time and keep moving forward.”

During lockdown, Qiddiya ensured all necessary safety precautions and protocols were followed and was able to continue with construction as planned.

“Work progressed without interruption as much of the current primary infrastructure work can be done at safe distances, adhering to all Ministry of Health guidelines,” explains Shamma.

According to him, 500 units of heavy equipment are currently on-site and the number of construction workers was expected to reach 1,000 by the end of last year.

“Major utilities diversions have been carried out to allow further construction  including the relocation of 92 high-voltage (HV) transmission towers, 40 km of HV transmission lines, 720 medium-voltage (MV) transmission towers, 70 km of MV transmission lines, 36 km of fibre-optic cables, and 8 km of water utility pipes,” he states.

Shamma points out that Qiddiya has successfully completed a total road asphalting volume of over 275,000 cu m, and concrete pouring of 80,000 cu m.

“In terms of preliminary earthworks and mass grading, total excavation reached 10.4 million cu  m, total embankment and filling reached 8.6 million cu m, and total clearing and grubbing reached 8.9 million cu m,” he adds.

Qiddiya’s site office complex in the site’s lower plateau has recently been doubled in size to support more staff moving from the corporate offices in Riyadh, while a second site office complex on the upper plateau is also now under construction and expected to be completed next month.

According to Shamma, Qiddiya aims to develop more strategic partnerships and to continue with heavy construction well into 2022 – making it ready for the testing and commissioning phase, ahead of its grand opening in 2023.