Officials at the Qiddiya Investment Company have kickstarted 2020 by awarding the first construction contract of the year to a major Saudi company.
The news comes as building continues at the Qiddiya site.
“As Qiddiya strives ahead with its construction execution we are delighted to begin the mass grading and site preparation of our two anchor development nodes: the Resort Core and the City Centre,” said Michael Reininger, chief executive of QIC.
“This is the first of many announcements for 2020 and we are proud to partner with a long-standing Saudi firm, the Abdul Ali Al Ajmi Company for this significant milestone.”
The start of the 12-month project will include the landscaping of seven million cubic meters of earth to ensure the site preparation of a combined area of more than four million square meters.
This will require upwards of 500 pieces of major earthmoving equipment to grade and develop the plots, in addition to 4,000 tons of steel and 30,000 cubic meters of concrete for storm water management so that the area is ready for the next stage of development.
Ali Abdul Ali Al-Ajmi, chairman of the Abdul Ali Al Ajmi Company, added: “As a Saudi company, it is an honour to be part of this unique project as Qiddiya’s partner.
“Over the last forty years we have a demonstrated history of providing our clients with superior excavation, material transport, site preparation and development and so we look forward to using these skills to help Qiddiya achieve their vision.”
Since its establishment in 1980, Abdul Ali Al-Ajmi has been recognised as a major road construction company throughout Saudi Arabia.
The company has specialised in the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, infrastructure, site preparation works, real estate development and road transport services.
The construction milestone is the latest in a series of successes for the new Saudi location.
Set to become the capital of entertainment, sports and the arts in the country, Qiddiya is located on the doorstep of Riyadh.
As a giga projects, it will directly employ approximately 17,000 people by 2023.
As a core tenet of Vision 2030, Qiddiya has a dual economic and social purpose: to advance economic diversification and unlock new professional pathways while enriching lives of youth in the kingdom.
Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2017, with a ground-Breaking ceremony taking place a year later.
Qiddiya Investment Company, the company behind the project, was incorporated as a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia in 2018.
Visitors will enjoy activities across five cornerstones: sports and wellness; nature and environment; parks and attractions; motion and mobility; and arts and culture.
Development of these areas will give rise to family-friendly theme parks; sports arenas suitable for international competitions; academies for sports and the arts; concert and entertainment venues; racetracks for motorsport enthusiasts; outdoor and adventure activities alongside nature and environment experiences; and historical, cultural and educational activities.
Qiddiya will also include a variety of real estate options and community services.
Qiddiya is located south-west of Riyadh on a site that spans 334 square kilometres.
Phase one is set to open in 2023.
Last summer Qiddiya Investment Company unveiled the much-anticipated master plan for the project.
The announcement came after an extensive design process resulting in a meticulously considered arrangement that complements the epic natural landscape and creates a series of pedestrian-oriented episodes that encourage discovery, trial and enjoyment of the broad spectrum of activities included in the plan.
“The people of Saudi Arabia share the universal desire for enriching experiences, and our plan allows Qiddiya to unlock access to these experiences in a new and culturally relevant way, encouraging personal and professional pursuits that foster enrichment,” said Reininger.
The plan for the project, created in conjunction with Bjarke Ingles Group, a Denmark-based company, was constructed with careful consideration to the natural patterns that have been etched on the site throughout history, giving rise to a green-belt network carrying visitors throughout the property on roads, bike paths and walkways built within an enhanced landscape environment.
“This project sets a new global standard for the seamless integration of visitor-focused experiences and an innovative mix of program pieces, delivering an unparalleled entertainment destination,” said Bob Ward, chairman of the Qiddiya Advisory Board.
The Resort Core represents the heart of Qiddiya where four gated-attractions surround a central specialty retail, dining and entertainment district along with a portfolio of distinctive resort hotel offerings.
Adjacent to the 15-hectare Retail, Dining & Entertainment district, is a major outdoor entertainment venue capable of hosting events from 5,000 to 40,000 visitors siting as a park like setting and punctuated with active skating and skiing facilities.
The 2022 opening phase features Six Flags Qiddiya, a family-oriented park filled with rides and attractions distributed throughout six themed lands.
A second feature park is a water-oriented sports and entertainment attraction, which includes an integrated resort hotel.
The third feature is the Speed Park which brings together events and experiences from the world of motor sports in a venue that places equal emphasis on spectator and driver.
The park includes tracks, showrooms, retail, a driver’s club and a luxury hotel within its gates.
Overlooking the Resort Core from its perch 200 metres above on the edge of the Tuwaiq escarpment, the City Centre is a mixed-use village dedicated to sports and the arts.
Coupled to the entertainment core below by a funicular transportation system, residential, retail and workplace environments are organised around two intersecting pedestrian circulation spines linking a portfolio of feature facilities.
The centre is home to a collection of sports venues including a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, an 18,000 seat multi-purpose indoor arena, an aquatic centre and a sports hub capable of hosting a cross-section of individual sports activities and events.
Arts and entertainment create a buzz throughout the city as they emerge from an innovative arts centre, a signature 2,000 seat performing arts theatre and a premier multiplex cinema that dot the central walkways as primary destinations.
This 24/7 city is formed with additional uses woven into the plan.
A creative campus offers workspace, media production and education facilities.
A grand mosque anchors one end of the city with a place for worship and community gathering.
Retail, service and dining options are delivered in a mixed use, high street setting with residences over shopfronts throughout the plan.
A private school, a sports medicine hospital, and beautiful private villas along a biking/walking path on the Cliff’s Edge complete the composition.
A golf and residential neighbourhood sits near the centre of the property where panoramic vistas of the project are available from an array of residential and resort offerings that include a championship 18 hole golf course and club house facilities, a luxurious resort hotel and spa and equestrian facilities—all accessed from villas, townhomes and private retreats.
A range of additional retail, residential, community services and commercial support facilities are distributed throughout the property for ease of access and utility that support the modern lifestyle Qiddiya is designed to deliver.
Six Flags Qiddiya will be one of the key entertainment features in first phase when it opens in 2023.
The rides and attractions found in each land have been designed exclusively for Qiddiya and include many that will set world records.
“Our vision is to make Six Flags Qiddiya a theme park that delivers all the thrills and excitement that audiences from all over the world have come to expect from the Six Flags brand, and to elevate those experiences with authentic themes connected to the location.
“As a place that will create indelible memories and moments of delight, telling stories that resonate with our guests is a central notion that will be evident throughout Qiddiya,” said Reininger.
Six Flags Qiddiya will cover 32 hectares and feature 28 rides and attractions across the six lands: The City of Thrills, Discovery Springs, Steam Town, Twilight Gardens, Valley of Fortune and Grand Exposition.
The Citadel is the central hub of the park.
It is covered by a billowing canopy form inspired by traditional Bedouin tents.
It holds a variety of shops and cafes and transforms into an interactive show space throughout the day.
From here guests can pass through gateways to enter each of the themed lands.
“The Six Flags brand began in 1961 when we opened as our first park, Six Flags Over Texas, which was themed according to the six flags that once flew over Texas.
“At Six Flags Qiddiya, we return to that heritage by creating six immersive lands designed for Saudis of all ages who seek family entertainment experiences steeped in their rich culture and history.
“We are thrilled to be part of a project of such scale and scope and are proud to celebrate this milestone with Qiddiya,” said David McKillips, president of Six Flags International Development Company.