CW In Focus | Highlighting major developments at 334km2 Qiddiya
Backed by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, PIF, Qiddiya Investment Company is set to open Qiddiya's Phase 1 in 2023
Saudi Arabia’s construction industry is witnessing good times, with gigaprojects including the 334km2 Qiddiya entertainment city, The Red Sea Project, NEOM, as well as the 3,800km2 AMAALA driving the kingdom’s ambition to reduce its reliance on oil-based revenues as part of its Vision 2030.
Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) which is the wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman-led Public Investment Fund (PIF) is the developer of the 334km2 Qiddiya entertainment city gigaproject located 45km from capital Riyadh.
Qiddiya's masterplan was designed conjunction with Bjarke Ingles Group, founded by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.
The sports, entertainment, and arts project has been divided into five development nodes, including Resort Core, City Centre, Eco Core, Motion Core, and a golf and residential neighbourhood.
In July 2019, QIC's chief executive officer, Mike Reininger said that more than 20 architecture companies have reportedly been contracted to work on the gigaproject. The CEO had also said at that time that 17,000 new jobs would be created through the development of Qiddiya.
In August 2019, QIC told Construction Week that local Saudi Arabian contractors were to soon commence work on the Six Flags theme park within Qiddiya that will feature five hotels within Phase 1.
The hotels are planned to open as part of Qiddiya's first phase in 2023, Reininger had revealed.
QIC also said that no gender division would be visible at its Six Flags theme park, which the developer added would appeal to a “broad spectrum” of audiences in Saudi Arabia at that time.
In October 2019, QIC and South Korean giant Samsung Group signed an extensive memorandum of understanding that will enable QIC to work with a number of businesses under the Samsung umbrella, including engaging with Samsung C&T for the design, engineering, and construction of Qiddiya’s sports complex; working with Samsung Electronics to become Qiddiya’s primary technology sponsor; and building co-branding and naming rights for some of Qiddiya’s anchor facilities.
In order to support all aspects of the Six Flags Theme park, including strategic planning, budgeting, and operations QIC appointed Brian Machamer as the park president in November 2019.
Following this announcement, the vice president of business development and international operations at Six Flags, Marius Centrula, said that Qiddiya will be the largest of its kind in the world in terms of entertainment and games, adding that the gigaproject would break a set of world records.
In December 2019, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was named the chairman of the board of directors of Qiddiya Investment Company following Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) approval to form the company’s new board.
The formation of QIC’s board of directors “came in line with the project’s future directions”.
December also saw the company mobilise its team on site at first of its two site offices that were built by Dubox, a part of Amana Group, with the offices being the first ones to be constructed on site.
The 21,000m2 complex will accommodate approximately 150 employees who are working on Phase 1 of the gigaproject that will open in 2023.