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Sat 5 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

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Economic City works at hand worth US $34.6bn

Projects worth US $ 34.6 billion (SAR 130 billion) are now underway to construct real estate, infrastructure, electricity, IT and educational projects at the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.

Projects worth US $ 34.6 billion (SAR 130 billion) are now underway to construct real estate, infrastructure, electricity, IT and educational projects at the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.

The projects are spread over 168 million m2 with six key components: Sea Port, Industrial Zone, Central Business District (including the Financial District), Resort District, Educational Zone and residential communities. Rabigh is 200 km north-west of Jeddah.

UAE developer Emaar Development is in charge of the economic city's construction.

An estimated 38,000 foreign workers are building the city.

King Abdullah attended a groundbreaking ceremony recently to lay the cornerstone for the project, said Amr Al-Dabbagh, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

"The king's visit to the economic city is a big boost to the private sector," he said. "King Abdullah will launch a number of important projects including the port, the main communication network and a company for financing electricity, water and sewage projects."

Similar projects in the Industrial Zone near Jeddah include the so-called  knowledge industries, a smart city, a health care city and a technological centre of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

The Rabigh economic city project was conceived nearly three years ago, with other economic cities launched in Hail, Madinah and Jizan. These cities are expected to draw more than SR300 billion in investments. More than 1.5 million jobs will be created.

Since King Abdullah assumed the throne in August 2005, several large projects have been launched throughout the Kingdom. They include King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, outside Jeddah. In the Eastern Province, 29 projects are underway at Jubail Industrial City. Value of those projects is estimated at SR68 billion.

The projects in Rabigh include the residential community of Bay La Sun Village.

The village will include residential towers, schools, a central shopping center, mosques, banks and gas stations, clinics and office buildings.

Central to the economic city is a 2.6-million m2 Millennium Seaport similar to other top ports, such as Rotterdam. The port will have a Hajj terminal that can receive more than 500,000 pilgrims every season. The Industrial District will cover 8t million m2 and include facilities for petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, research and development activities as well as a host of educational institutions.

The Waterside Resort will serve up a mix of waterfront hotels and boutique residences.

Another element, the Financial Island, is designed as a "city within a city" for financial institutions, with more than 500,000 m2 of office space, business hotels and a new exhibition and convention center.

There will be two towers reaching up to 160 stories that offer compelling views of the surrounding city skyline.

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