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Riyadh Ring Road engineer named CDO of Saudi's 334km2 Qiddiya

Kareem Shamma says new role 'chance of a lifetime' as Qiddiya readies for 2019 masterplan reveal, construction start

Kareem Shamma is CDO of Qiddiya.
Kareem Shamma is CDO of Qiddiya.

Qiddiya Investment Company, ­the developer behind the Qiddiya entertainment city gigaproject that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – led by Crown Prince HRH Mohammed Bin Salman – is backing, has appointed Kareem Shamma, an engineer that has previously worked on Riyadh’s Ring Road, as its chief development officer.

Shamma has 35 years of construction industry experience in technical and commercial engineering, as well as development roles across Bahrain, the UAE, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.

According to Qiddiya Investment Co, Shamma spent “several years” working as an engineer on Riyadh’s Ring Road network, including the construction of various bridges and underpasses of the project.

His appointment to Qiddiya comes after Shamma, in his capacity as CEO, delivered a $1.6bn (SAR6bn) mixed-use development in the region.

The scheme included a mall with 250,000m2 of leasable space, four theme parks, a five-star hotel, and a conference centre.

Commenting on his appointment, Shamma said: “I spent my early career in the kingdom developing key infrastructure, as the capital city grew and the kingdom developed.

“To come back a second time and work on this extraordinary project is a chance of a lifetime and I’m fortunate to be part of building Qiddiya, a project which will change the way that the population will spend their leisure time. I look forward to working with the talented team already in place to create this unique destination.”

As his LinkedIn profile shows, Shamma holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Imperial College London, from where he also secured an MSc in concrete structures.

On his profile, Shamma lists Bahrain’s Amwaj Islands, Manara Developments, and URS Scott Wilson as his previous employers.

Qiddiya’s chief administration officer, Abdulaziz Al Remaihi, said Shamma’s “wealth of experience” would help the development company achieve its goal of making the gigaproject “the capital of entertainment, sports, and the arts here in the kingdom”.

Formed as a joint stock company on 10 May, 2018, Qiddiya Investment Co is fully owned by PIF, and is developing the 334km2 project in Saudi Arabia.

The gigaproject was unveiled by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince on 7 April, 2017, and is located 40km from downtown Riyadh.  

Ground broke on the project on 28 April, 2018, and Phase 1 is due for launch in 2022.

Qiddiya’s Visitor Experience Centre will be launched in 2019, and its masterplan reveal and Phase 1 construction start are also due this year.

When it opens in 2022, Qiddiya will offer activities in areas such as sports and wellness; environment; parks and attractions; motion and mobility; and arts and culture.

Projects planned as part of Qiddiya include theme parks, water- and snow-based activities, sports arenas and training academies, race tracks, historical and educational hubs, and adventure areas.

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Construction Week - Issue 747
Aug 03, 2019