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Chapman Taylor wins contract for $587m Downtown KEC in Madinah

Knowledge Economic City says UK firm was awarded $6.2m two-phase design deal for the Saudi Arabian megaproject

Aerial view of KEC in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
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Aerial view of KEC in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

UK-headquartered architecture and masterplanning studio Chapman Taylor – which has previously worked on regional projects such as Jebel Ali Village Cinema, The Pointe Cinema, and Reel Cinemas Al Ghurair Centre in Dubai – has been selected to work on Knowledge Economic City’s (KEC) $587.1m (SAR2.2bn) Downtown project in Madinah under a design contract valued at $6.2m (SAR23.4m).

Downtown’s feasibility study was completed as of March 2019, and in a statement at the time, the Tadawul-listed KEC said that the project’s initial design aimed at developing KEC’s main commercial market and associated hotel units within Phase 1 of the eponymous project.

In an Arabic-language missive issued in July 2019, KEC said the first phase of Chapman Taylor’s contract included general site studies, preliminary designs and studies, milestone establishment, and estimated costs.

Phase 2 of its contract would cover detailed design and tender documentation works, as well as the formation of operational plans for the project according to its various implementation milestones, as agreed during Phase 1 of the contract.

KEC said Chapman Taylor was mandated to ensure “the effective use of available spaces” within the project’s site, with elements such as a 12.9ha mall, and 12.2ha boulevard-style leasable area, planned for inclusion within the project.

The boulevard will feature an interactive museum about Madinah, in addition to an entertainment space and a cinema.

Hospitality elements planned for development within Downtown three- and four-star hotels that will create 350 rooms and 150 hotel apartments within Phase 1 of KEC.

In March 2019, KEC said in its Arabic-language statement on Tadawul that it expected to start drilling and site processing work for Downtown in Q4 2019, with construction work to begin in 2020, with completion expected within three years.

The masterplanned KEC megaproject is located on the eastern side of Madinah, within the holy zone of the city.

The site is split in the middle by King Abdulaziz Road, a main 100m-wide axis that links it directly to the underground parking and bus loading facilities of the Holy Mosque in Madinah.

KEC’s site is 8km from Madinah’s international airport, and close to the Haramain Rail through a station on its eastern side.

According to its website, KEC was founded as a Saudi Arabian joint stock company under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2010, under the guidance of late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.  

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