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Sat 16 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Plans for biggest economic city in Saudi Arabia mooted

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (SIPA) is finalising plans for what is set to be one of Saudi Arabia's biggest economic city developments.

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (SIPA) is finalising plans for what is set to be one of Saudi Arabia's biggest economic city developments.

Although a project value has not been disclosed, Sudair City is likely to exceed the value and size of Emaar's King Abdullah Economic City, according to Dr Tawfig F Al-Rabiah, director general, SIPA.

The project, which will be largely financed by the Saudi Arabian government, will be spread over 258 million m2.

The government plans to lease land to private developers, and 99-year leaseholds are being discussed. The masterplan is expected to be finalised in the next few months, with contractors invited to bid for construction work in June.

Located north of Riyadh, the development will be made up of commercial, residential, industrial, technological and sport and leisure components.

The North-South rail project is also expected to run through the development, which will include airport facilities.

"Saudi Arabia has experienced phenomenal growth, and this is expected to last a few years," said Al-Rabiah.

"The purpose of building Sudair City is to ease the congestion and migration into Riyadh."

"The project is being heavily supported by the Saudi Arabian government. Government-owned land will be handed over on a long-term lease basis, making it less risky for the developer."

Al-Rabiah added that SIPA and the Saudi government are striving to ensure the project's success, despite the current capacity constraints being felt by the construction industry in the region.

"This project is something we cannot afford to have fail. So we're working together to make sure it works. We expect consortiums of different companies to work together on this project."

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