Top 10 plans for Saudi Arabia’s $1 trillion capital

27 July 2023


> This package also includes: Saudi Arabia plans $1 trillion capital

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1. New Murabba

In early 2023, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud launched New Murabba Development Company (NMDC) to develop the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh

Located to the northwest of the capital, the development will cover an area of 19 square kilometres. It will feature more than 104,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms and over 980,000 square metres of retail space. 

The centrepiece will be the Mukaab, a 400 cubic-metre structure that will be the world’s first immersive destination, featuring digital and virtual technology. The Mukaab will include a tower atop a spiral base.

The estimated project cost is more than $50bn and it is scheduled for completion by 2030.

Contractors win New Murabba early works deals

UK consultancy firm Atkins is working on the New Murabba project in Riyadh, which includes the 400-metre-cubed, Najdi-inspired Mukaab building. Another UK firm, Buro Happold, is working with Atkins on the project

2. Diriyah Gate

Announced in 2019, the Diriyah Gate project spans 7.1 million sq m to the northwest of Riyadh. The masterplan includes the three-phased development of several areas in Diriyah, including Wadi Safar, Wadi Hanifah Park, Bujairi District, Arts District, Samhan District and Diriyah Square.

Projects worth $12.6bn are in execution at Diriyah Gate, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, while $9.5bn-worth of schemes are in design and tendering stages. 

Artist's rendition of Diriyah Gate’s King Salman Square, one of the meeting places planned for the 7.1 million square-metre development

3. King Salman Park

King Salman Park is being built on more than 16 sq km and will become the world’s largest urban park. The project was officially announced in 2019 and is split into three phases. 

Saudi-based Modern Building Leaders is building the SR7.5bn ($2bn) Royal Art Complex. A joint venture of Freyssinet Saudi Arabia and the local Haif Company is carrying out the infrastructure works. Freyssinet is also delivering the main works package for the visitors’ centre at the park, and Saudi-based E A Juffali & Brothers is providing mechanical, electrical and plumbing services. 

At King Salman Park, projects worth more than $5bn are in execution, while projects under design and tender are valued at about $2.7bn.

Contractors win $2.5bn of work at King Salman Park

Covering an area of 16.9 sq km, King Salman Park is located to the south of King Abdullah Road, to the north of Makkah al-Mukkarramah Road and to the west of the Eastern Ring Road. The east of the site has a military airbase with two runways

4. Sports Boulevard

Riyadh Sports Boulevard was unveiled in March 2019 by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. The development will span 135km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road.

The project will be split into eight zones and features the development of 50 sports facilities, arts and recreational facilities, and green and open spaces spanning 4.4 million sq m. As of March 2023, $3.1bn-worth of projects had been awarded.

In early 2023, the local Almabani secured a $2bn contract for the construction of five packages of the project. 

Sports Boulevard Foundation invited firms to submit bids in early August for a contract to provide project management consultancy services for schemes that include several iconic buildings at Sports Boulevard.

Sports Boulevard runs across Riyadh from east to west. Once complete, it will be the world’s longest park at over 135km

5. Seven

Saudi Entertainment Ventures (Seven), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), began construction on the first of its two entertainment districts in Riyadh in January 2022. Named Exit 10, the project is being executed by Indian contractor Shapoorji Pallonji, which secured a deal worth more than $370m. 

Exit 10 is at the most advanced stage of construction out of the 21 planned entertainment complexes in 14 cities across the kingdom. 

A second entertainment district, Exit 15, is under construction in the Al-Nahdah area of Riyadh. The contractor on the scheme is Consolidated Contractors Company, and US-based Aecom is the consultant. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

6. Misk Nonprofit City

Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City (Misk) is a masterplanned development covering 3.4 sq km in Riyadh. It includes commercial, educational, cultural, exhibition, hospitality, residential and retail spaces located in different zones. 

In November 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Misk Foundation development will be the world’s first non-profit city. 

The consultants working on the project include Germany’s Albert Speer + Partner as masterplanner and architect, and UK-based Buro Happold as engineer. The project manager for the first phase of construction is UK-based Mace.

7. King Salman International airport

The development of King Salman International airport was announced in November 2022 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The project is backed by PIF and will span an area of about 57 sq km.

The airport is expected to be one of the world’s largest, and will be powered by renewable energy. 

It aims to accommodate 120 million passengers by 2030 and 185 million passengers by 2050, with the capacity to process 3.5 million tonnes of cargo. 

The airport will have six parallel runways and will include the existing terminals at King Khalid International airport. 

If completed on time in 2030, King Salman International airport will become the world’s largest airport in terms of passenger capacity

8. Roshn

Launched by PIF, Roshn is an initiative by the government to promote real estate sector activity in the kingdom and increase homeownership rates among Saudi citizens to 70 per cent by 2030.

Roshn is developing the Sedra community in northeast Riyadh, which is masterplanned to include 30,000 homes. Construction work is ongoing on packages from phases one and two. 

Warefa is Roshn’s second community project. Located in the Al-Janadriyah district of Riyadh, it was announced in March 2023. The project will cover 1.4 million sq m and have more than 2,000 housing units.

Public Investment Fund-backed Roshn has integrated power-saving technologies and adopted water treatment and reuse across the communities it is developing in the kingdom

9. NHC Housing schemes

National Housing Company (NHC) is the investment arm of the Municipal, Rural Affairs & Housing Ministry in the residential and commercial real estate sectors. Its main suburban developments in Riyadh are Khuzam and Al-Fursan. 

According to data from MEED Projects, packages worth over $784m are under execution in Khuzam. 

In February, NHC announced the second phase, spanning more than 21 million sq m and including 30,000 homes.

NHC and Saudi Arabia’s Housing Ministry have also signed investment agreements totalling more than SR24bn ($6.4bn) to launch the Al-Fursan suburb in northeast Riyadh. 

It is the largest scheme in terms of the area and the number of housing units that NHC is implementing in partnership with Saudi real estate developers. Delivery of the first batch of homes is set for 2026.

10. North Pole

PIF is planning a 2km megatall tower as part of an 18 sq km masterplanned development to the north of Riyadh. 

The proposed tower will be more than double the height of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is 828 metres tall. The project could cost about $5bn to construct. 

Several international architecture firms have been invited to participate in a design competition for the project. UK-headquartered EY conducted the feasibility study for the development.

Gigaproject seeks firms for Riyadh rail link
Qiddiya has sought consultants for its Q-Express rail link that will connect the entertainment city with King Salman airport

Main image credit: Riyadh Expo 2030
Yasir Iqbal
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