Saudi Arabia will undergo some serious changes over the next 10 years, with Mega Projects from theme parks and metro lines to the world’s tallest building.
14 Mega Projects of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a country changing at quite a speed. In conclusion of opening its doors to tourists in 2019, the world’s eyes have turned to the Kingdom.
In the many travellers’ bucket lists, there is plenty to be marvelled at in the Kingdom’s cities, addition to the hidden gems of Saudi Arabia’s vast and varied landscapes.
Here are 14 Mega Projects those are shaping the future of Saudi Arabia.
Qiddiya, dubbed the kingdom’s “capital of entertainment”, will span over 334 square kilometres on the outskirts of Riyadh. Qiddiya offers a mix of attractions ranging from a 20,000 seat stadium to a Formula One-standard race track.
The $8 billion dollar project started on January 2019 and consequently the first phase will be open in 2022.
Qiddiya will be home to more than 300 recreational and educational facilities, centered around five major themes as below;
- Parks and Attractions,
- Sports and Wellness,
- Nature and Environment,
- Arts and Culture, and
- Motion and Mobility.
In conclusion, Qiddiya is expecting to draw up to 17 million visitors annually by 2030.
The $500 billion high tech city Neom project unveiled firstly by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017. This city is the flagship project of Saudi Arabia’s post-oil diversification plan known as Vision 2030. It will reduce the kingdom’s reliance on hydrocarbons.
The spanning a total area of 26,500 square kilometers project is located in north-western Saudi Arabia. In addition, Neom’s zone includes territory from the Egyptian and Jordanian borders and will contain over 450 km of coastline.
Neom will house areas dedicated to future technologies in sixteen sectors such as;
- manufacturing and
The project will contribute the kingdom’s GDP at least $100 billion by 2030. Neom will contain;
- green areas with orchards,
- vegetable plots and ornamental gardens,
- sports facilities including;
- cricket and football pitches,
- courts for tennis and basketball,
- and other facilities.
3- Red Sea Project
The Red Sea Project is between the coastal cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, built in a region spanning 30,000 square kilometers. It will comprise a natural archipelago of pristine islands and a vast desert landscape filled with mountain peaks, historical and archaeological treasures and a dormant volcano.
The project will be the first fully integrated, luxury, mixed-use resort in the Middle East. Therefore it is expected to attract visitors all year round and will provide 8,000 new hotel rooms once completed. The Red Sea Project has been designed with a strong focus on heritage, culture and conservation and includes 200 km of untouched coastline.
The developers of the Red Sea Project want it to be one of the world’s most successful sustainable tourist resorts. Thus will be design with a zero waste-to-landfill-policy, 100 per cent carbon neutrality and a ban on single-use plastics.
4- Jabal Omar
Jabal Omar Project is covering an area of 40 hectares and costing $4.4 billion. Therefore, it is one of the KSA’s largest construction projects with a mix of towering hotels and residential buildings, as major Makkah development. Once completed, it will have the capacity to host up;
- to 36,000 guests annually,
- increasing to in excess of 100,000 during Hajj season.
The eight-phase project will see the construction of;
- a twin-tower hotel,
- dedicated prayer areas,
- a seven-star facility and
- multiple further hotel towers.
In total, there will be 40 towers across an approximately two million square meters built-up area. Dubai-based financier Shuaa Capital provided developer JODC with a five-year sukuk worth $135 million in January 2019.
The mega project Amaala is in the Tabuk province, while bordering the city of Neom and the Red Sea Project within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve. It will help to establish a new luxury tourism destination.
Dubbed the ‘Riviera of the Middle East’, the development will consist of;
- 2,500 hotel rooms
- 700 private residential villas
- a retail area with 200 outlets
- an academy of the arts that aims to further develop young artists from Saudi Arabia and the broader region.
- its own airport thus targeting luxury travellers.
The 3,000 square kilometer development will be spread across the three sites. The initial funding for the project will be provided by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. In conclusion, the project, is expected to be completed in 2028 and will generate up to 22,000 jobs for the Kingdom.
6- Ad Diriyah
Ad Diriyah is known as the ‘pearl of Saudi Arabia’ and is set to put Saudi Arabia’s tourism wheels in motion. Because it is the site of the first Saudi state, the original seat of power of Saudi Arabia’s Al Saud family. Ad Diriyah is located on the outskirts of Riyadh and will become a major tourist destination. The $17 billion development will encompass several luxury resorts, including major international hotel brands. The first hotel will be open late in 2021.
The in 2010 Unesco-listed site At-Turaif is within this region which the sprawling mud-brick capital city founded in the 15th century.
It spawned the dynasty of Al Saud in the mid-18th century, who had lived in Ad Diriyah since the 15th century. At-Turaif is mostly destroyed as of today. But a redevelopment project has introduced museums, performance spaces and a glimpse inside 18th century Saudi Arabia.
7- Al Widyan
Al Widyan is dubbed as Riyadh’s ‘city within a city’. It will become the capital’s cosmopolitan district, covering an area of 7 million square meters.
The mixed use city and leisure destination in Riyadh’s northern growth corridor will be split into 12 districts. With more than 50 per cent of the land area dedicated to open space, anchored by large Central Park formed around Al Widyan’s natural wadis.
The $2.7 billion development will belargely walk able and feature;
- retail and education facilities,
- homes and offices.
Hence, Al Widyan will be targeting young families, students, creatives and entrepreneurs with its mix of 20,000 high and low-rise housing units.
8- World’s largest Shopping and Entertainment destination in Al Widyan
Al Akaria Saudi Real Estate Company informed that within Al Widyan it will be the world’s largest shopping and entertainment development.
By using the latest artificial intelligence technologies, the development will cost around $5 billion and house;
- a major shopping center,
- large-scale theme parks,
- water parks,
- recreational facilities,
- extensive dining options
9- King Salman Park
Riyadh’s King Salman Park, four times the size of New York City’s Central Park, will stretch over a 13.4 square kilometre area. It will be on the site of the old airport, and will link the city by the bus and metro lines.
Highlights will include;
- Islamic themed and vertical gardens,
- a labyrinth
- a bird and butterfly conservatory,
- a 7.5 kilometer circular walkway,
- an 800,000 square meter “wadi”.
- an arts section that will stretch over a 400,000 square meter area that includes a 2,500-seat national theatre and an 8,000-seat open air theater.
- art academies,
- seven museums
- space for parties spanning 40,000 square meters.
- world-class sports facilities, with a 850,000 square metre golf course,
- a 50,000 square-meter sports complex,
- a 100,000 square-metre entertainment games area
- a 140,000 square-metre water sports section.
- 12,000 residential units,
- 16 hotels with 2,300 rooms,
- a food and retail area stretching over a 500,000 square meter area and
10- Jeddah Tower
Jeddah Tower will set to take the Burj Khalifa’s crown as the world’s tallest building. The $1.4 billion project, when completed, will stand at an estimated height of one kilometer.
With more than 250 floors, Jeddah Tower is planned to be open Four Seasons within;
- a mix of residential units,
- serviced apartments, and
The development designed by Adrien Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. The Jeddah Tower covers a floor space of 243,866 square meters, and will be home to the world’s tallest observation deck, 664 meters off the ground.
11- Metro Jeddah
You can watch my YouTube video regarding the Haramain High Speed Railway – Saudi Arabia / KSA
Saudi’s second city is set for its own metro system by 2025, with three lines currently under development.
Phase one of the Metro Jeddah will link the King Abdulaziz International Airport with the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium, central Al-Ruwais and Al-Khozam.
The $60 billion network was scheduled to be completed by 2020. Although according to the chief executive officer of Metro Jeddah Company (MJC), the project will take five years longer than expected to be completed, due to do delays to the completion of Jeddah’s bus network.
12- Riyadh Metro
The Riyadh Metro is one of the largest urban transport projects in the world. Because it consists from six lines covering an area of 176 kilometers and 85 metro stations across the city. The phase one of the project will be open within 2020.
The metro network will be capable of carrying 400,000 passengers daily using driver less trains which will measure 36 meters in length. However it will carry passengers in three classes;
- family and
Additional, it will have also a parallel bus network. The project will cost more than $23 billion in total. Hence, for a number of the stations by the Riyadh Development Authority, raising an estimated $278 million for the network. It is expected that the project will increase the share of journeys on public transport in the city from 2 per cent to around 20 per cent.
13- Makkah Public Transport Program
Much like Riyadh and Jeddah, a new metro system and bus network is being developed in Saudi Arabia’s holy city. The Makkah Public Transport Program (MPTP) will include a for-line metro covering 180 kilometers, with 88 serving stations designed to transport the millions who visit the city each year to undertake Hajj and Umrah.
There will also be a number of integrated bus networks, with local buses and shuttle buses to park and rides on the outskirts of the city, as well as a bus rapid transit (BRT). The metro is due to completed in six phases over the course of around 20 years, with the first phase operational by 2025.
14- Al Ula – Al Sharaan Nature Reserve
Al Sharaan Nature Reserve will be at the heart of the development of Al Ula, with a 925 square kilometer space set to make the most of the rocky landscape. The project will focus on the natural integrity of Al Ula and aims to re-establish the rich diversity of plant life and wildlife that once flourished here.
Inside the reserve, which is named after the surrounding canyon area, a luxury retreat will open in the archaeologically rich surroundings. It will consist of the facilities mentioned below, with the planned completion in 2023;
- 25 suites,
- 10 pavilions and
- five resort-style residential estates.
There will be also additional;
- residential estates,
- an international summit center,
- restaurants and a
- luxury spa.
The French architect behind Louvre Abu Dhabi, Jean Nouvel, will design the project and plans to draw inspiration from the surrounding landscapes of Al Ula as one of the main considerations for the resort.
Similarly, construction is expected to begin this year, with a completion date set for 2030.
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Source; 14 mega-projects shaping the future of Saudi Arabia by Sophie Prideaux on 18 February 2020.
Rewriter; Civil Eng. Mithat GUNEY, PMP
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