UK-based GDI has established Gulf Modular Industry Company to operate the factory.

Gulf Development International (GDI), a UK-based full-scale developer, is set to build one of the largest volumetric modular assembly plants in the world within Saudi Arabia’s $500-billion city Neom.

The $1-billion project is expected to come up on a 1.4-million-sq-m site within the futuristic city, said its top official.

When fully operational, the factory will be capable of producing up to 12,500 modular units per year, remarked CEO George Creel.

Additionally, GDI has established Gulf Modular Industry Company, a licensed Saudi entity that will operate the factory.

The factory will be the first in Neom to break ground and will employ nearly 2,200 people with a mix of skilled and high-tech jobs, focusing on developing opportunities and training for Saudi citizens, he noted.

Lauding the move, Neom CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said: “I am proud to welcome GDI to our global project, where we are building our communities with the most advanced technologies and modern methods of construction. This partnership touches on all of Neom’s pillars: allowing us to build a community of exceptional livability, where innovative businesses like GDI can thrive while reinventing industry.”

Creel described the new giga-factory as “an efficient ecological marvel”.

The company will use the site to build its new volumetric modular system to support building housing for tens of thousands of people and dozens of hotels for Neom, a cornerstone of Vision 2030. The objective is to produce modules to support other giga projects and initiatives in Saudi Arabia and export throughout the region. Production will begin in late 2022, Creel said.

According to him, GDI has arranged the private sector financing for this transaction, which speaks of the strength of the sound economic fundamentals of Neom, and this venture specifically.

“Over the next three years, GDI expects Neom’s demand for the factory output to quadruple, which will position GDI to attract further foreign direct investment to meet intense demand,” he added.

Among other developments at Neom, HanmiGlobal, a leading Korean company specialising in the development and execution of construction projects, has won a specialised programme management deal for The Line project, a part of Neom. HanmiGlobal said under this contract, which is worth 2.3 billion won ($2.07 million), it will provide project management services and also develop an operations structure and other related work until May 2023.

A revolution in urban living at the project, The Line is a blueprint for how people and planet can co-exist in harmony. It was launched by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Neom Company Board of Directors, early this year.

The Line will be a 170-km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature. It is a direct response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion.

The Line marks the first time in 150 years that a major urban development has been designed around people, rather than around roads. Walkability will define life on The Line, with all essential daily services, such as schools and medical clinics located within a five-minute walk.