Saudi Arabia has launched several multi-billion-dollar projects over the recent years. Here is an update on these projects:
Neom: The $500-billion Neom has been captivating worldwide interest with some of most unexpected and awe-inspiring project launches since the $500-billion futuristic megacity was announced in October 2017. Following on from The Line – which unveiled a new way of living with its hyper-connected future communities over a year ago, Neom announced the launch of Oxagon, a reimagined industrial city, in November last year. The latest launch was Trojena, a sustainable mountain tourism destination situated in the centre of Neom in a region characterised by a mountain range with the highest peaks in Saudi Arabia at 2,600 m above sea level.
The new year-round tourist destination will comprise a ski village, ultra-luxury family and wellness resorts, sports activities including a ski slope, watersports and mountain biking, as well as an interactive nature reserve. The project is set for completion by 2026.
Trojena is expected to attract 700,000 visitors and 7,000 permanent residents by 2030.
Oxagon represents a radical new model for future manufacturing centre. Comprising a large area in the southwest corner of Neom, the core urban environment is centered around an integrated port and logistics hub that will house the majority of the city’s future residents.
The unique octagonal design minimises impact on the environment and provides optimal land usage, with the remainder open to preserve 95 per cent of the natural environment.
A defining feature of the city is the world’s largest floating structure, which will become a centre for Neom’s blue economy and achieve sustainable growth.
Oxagon will host the world’s largest green hydrogen project being built jointly by Air Products, Acwa Power and Neom in a tri-partite venture; the world’s largest and most advanced modular building construction factory with Gulf Modular International; and the largest hyperscale data centre in the region, a joint venture between FAS Energy and Neom.
Coming onstream in 2025, the $5-billion green hydrogen plant is likely to be the first of several similar plants to make Neom a hub for green hydrogen production and innovation (see Page 70).
The $1-billion modular building construction factory project will come up on a 1.4-million-sq-m site and will be capable of producing up to 12,500 modular units per year once fully operational.
Work is reported to have already begun to provide the critical infrastructure for The Line, Oxagon and Trojena.
Diriyah: Work is well in progress on Diriyah Gate as part of a $50.6-billion transformation plan for the historic city of Diriyah, a massive undertaking being managed by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA). The $20-billion Diriyah Gate development is centred around At-Turaif, a Unesco World Heritage site.
In February, a SR1.2-billion ($311 million) contract was awarded to Saudi-based Nesma & Partners to construct a network of road tunnels, ramps and a major bridge deck that will form the principal Diriyah Interchange on Riyadh’s Western Ring Road (WRR).
This followed the award of the project’s largest contract to date worth SR3.99 billion to Salini Saudi Arabia, a unit of The Webuild Group, for the construction of its ‘super basement’ car park. The state-of-the-art three-level underground car park supports the commercial heart of the culture and heritage giga project’s Diriyah Square (see Page 23).
The Red Sea Project: Work on the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project is moving on multiple fronts, including on the Coastal Village, the utilities and the stunning resorts within this 28,000-sq-km pristine tourism destination along Saudi Arabia’s west coast.
Contracts worth SR20 billion ($5.32 billion) have been signed to date on the project. According to its developer, The Red Sea Development Company, work is on track to open the first hotels by March 2023. Phase One includes 16 hotels and a new international airport (see Page 15).
Qiddiya: Saudi-based Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) recently flagged off work on two key theme parks at Qiddiya, a futuristic entertainment destination in the Saudi capital, with the award of SR2.8 billion deal to build the kingdom’s first and the region’s largest water theme park to a joint venture of ALEC Saudi Arabia Engineering & Contracting and El Seif Engineering Contracting; and a SR3.75-billion contract for the construction of the region’s first Six Flags theme park to a joint venture of France-base Bouygues Batiment International (BBI) and Saudi-based Al Mabani General Contractors (see Page 35).
Jeddah Central Project: Massive demolition works are underway to make way for the ambitious transformation of old Jeddah. In March this year, Jeddah Central Development Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PIF, signed an agreement with the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces Institute to acquire a prime site for Phase One of the SR75-billion Jeddah Central Project.
Launched in December last year, the mega project is being developed on a 5.7-million-sq-m plot of land overlooking the Red Sea.
The masterplan boasts an opera house, museum, sports stadium and oceanarium. In addition, the city will feature 17,000 residential units and several hotel projects offering more than 2,700 hotel rooms. The project’s waterfront will extend 9.5 km and include a promenade, a marina, and a 2.1-km-long beach.
AlUla: A number of deals have been sealed in a bid to position AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage. Among these, four agreements were signed by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) with French institutions, two of which were in the infrastructure sector including one for Villa Hegra, which introduces the iconic ‘French villa’ model to the Middle East.
The RCU has partnered With Dassault Systèmes to create a digital twin of AlUla.
Spark: King Salman Energy Park (Spark), the region’s only fully integrated energy hub, continues to expand its industrial infrastructure with the latest project launched at the hub in the Eastern Province having been a 277,000-sq-m drilling and workover facility for energy giant Aramco.
Spark, is fast taking shape over a 50-sq-km site located between Dammam and Al Ahsa and is being developed, operated and managed by Aramco.
Nonprofit City: Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (Misk) has recently unveiled the masterplan for Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City – the first of its kind in the world – to be developed on a 3.4-sq-km area in Riyadh.
The city’s general masterplan includes residential areas to accommodate nearly 18,000 residents, comprising 500 villas and townhouses, as well as 6,000 apartments with multiple floor plans.
Masar: Umm Al Qura for Development and Construction which is creating the Masar destination in the centre of Makkah as an urban destination designed to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Makkah and pilgrims, has signed an agreement with Al Diar Al Arabiya Company for the construction of 10 new residential towers at an investment of SR3 billion ($798 million).
Spread over a 1.25-million-sq-m area, Masar boasts a 3,650-m-long boulevard as a natural extension of Makkah mosque in addition to green spaces, integrated cultural and social facilities, two malls, several hotels and serviced apartments (see Page 71).