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|06 August, 2018

Al Akaria to build 7mln sqm integrated world-class city in Saudi Arabia

The first phase of Al Widyan development is expected to cost $2.67bln

Image used for illustrative purpose. Downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Leading developer Al Akaria Saudi Real Estate Company (Sreco) has announced plans for a 7-million-sq-m  integrated world-class city 'Al Widyan' in capital Riyadh.

Strategically located in Riyadh’s northern growth corridor, Al Widyan is around 15 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from downtown Riyadh.

Its prime location puts it within reach of a population of over 8 million people, a natural market and workforce for its diverse mix of leisure, retail, education, healthcare, office and residential uses.

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The mega project will be delivered over a phased programme of development, expected to be undertaken over a seven-year timeframe with the official launch in October.

According to Sreco, construction has already started on the mega project with the enabling, grading and infrastructure work under way. Phase One of the project is being built at a cost of SR10 billion ($2.6 billion).

With this project, Sreco sets new direction to deliver a vibrant fully integrated world-class community in the Kingdom encompassing the latest wellness lifestyle real estate principles, said a statement from the company.

The announcement of Al Widyan is part of a new business direction for Sreco, a Saudi developer - partially owned by the government through the Public Investment Fund (PIF) with a 65 per cent stake and the Public Pension Agency (PPA) with five per cent - with four decades of experience.

Sreco’s renewed business plan embarks on journey to deliver a new generation of large scale, mixed-use real estate developments across the country where Saudis can enjoy the social and economic transformation brought by Vision 2030, it added.

Al Widyan is the first private real estate project to be granted the status of a Self-Regulatory Office (SRO), which de-risks the project for investors, reduces complexity in the development phase and fast tracks permit services, said the statement from Sreco.

Co-developers and sub-developers will be able to enjoy significantly shorter go-to-market timelines, making the project an attractive investment opportunity withfast and efficient procedures that will cut through bureaucracy and remove the need to engage with central government authorities.

Sreco has also registered a company to execute the project – Al Widyan Company which is 100 per cent owned by it.

Construction work on the project begun last year with transportation and traffic impact studies completed and approved, it added.

Sreco said a number of MoUs have already been signed with commercial partners, and talks were on with a wide range of other potential Saudi and international partners.

The Saudi developer pointed out that Al Widyan was committed to responsible, environmentally and socially-conscious living and will seek a 40 per cent reduction in energy use and a 35 per cent cut in water use.

On the mega project, chairman Abdulrahman Almofadhi said: "Al Widyan will be a new paradigm for community living in the kingdom and will embody the spirit of new Saudi Arabia, the power of human talent to conceptualise and develop the future that we aspire to for our children, communities and nation."

Sreco, he stated, has embraced a new business strategy leading a new generation of real estate concepts, systems and practices across Saudi Arabia, moving away from the “business as usual” approach.

"It provides a complete value chain solution, from conceptualisation, finance and planning; to real estate development, leasing, property and portfolio management, and facilities management. This is delivered through a three-tiered structure of the business, which incorporates Real Estate Investment Management; Real Estate Development Company; and the Joint Ventures and Subsidiaries division," he noted.

"In addition, the company has forged strategic partnerships with organisations such as Posco, Hanmi Global, leading global companies and Saudi government departments," he added.

Almofadhi said to deliver this new-generation, self-contained community, Sreco has invested in a team of senior real estate professionals with experience delivering complex projects around the world.  

"With Al Widyan, we are taking a new approach to real estate development. We have focused on putting people’s wellness at the centre of the conception, design and creation of this project," he stated.

"Al Widyan is the proof of concept of the future of building, living in healthy and innovative environment, where it’s design is aligned with the world wellness lifestyle real estate principles," remarked Almofadhi.

"We are building legitimate proof of concept, locating key partners and investors and beginning construction. In line with this approach, our operations and projects are increasingly independent of public sector funding, and open to investors from all over the world. We look forward to revealing more details to the public in October," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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