The project is said to be worth billions of dollars and will include residential and commercial buildings. It will cover approximately 15 square kilometres and will be one of the largest projects undertaken by the developer in the kingdom.

The project is expected to be launched in October when Saudi ruler King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is due to lay the foundation stone.

A spokesman for Dar al-Arkan confirms that the Jeddah project will go ahead. “We cannot say too much right now, but it is certainly going to be one of the grandest projects in the kingdom,” he says.

Separately, Dar al-Arkan is expected to invite bids for the first phase of its major residential project in Riyadh later this month. Called Shams al-Riyadh, the $1.6bn, 10 sq km project includes 8,000 residential units and will be built in the north of the city.

The scheme, previously known as Riyadh View, also includes a school, mosques, and a car park. Work on the infrastructure has already begun and it is hoped that construction of the first phase will begin by the end of the year.

“We are trying to commission contractors for the first phase and looking to invite bids in the next few weeks,” says the spokesman.

Several local firms have been prequalified for the work, including Saudi Oger, El-Seif Engineering & Contracting and Al-Harbi Trading & Contracting.

Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) is the consul-tant on the project.

Grading works were carried out by the local Al-Jazeera Contracting. The project should be completed in the second quarter of 2012.

Dar al-Arkan is also working on a $350m mixed-use project in Suwaidi, to the south of Riyadh. The project, called Al-Qasr, will cover about 800,000 sq m and will include villas, a shopping mall and other residential and commercial buildings. Dar al-Handasah is again the consultant.

The developer’s plans are part of a wider series of major residential projects.

UAE developer Limitless has announced a $11bn development to the north of Riyadh called Al-Wasl. The 14 sq km project is being designed for a population of up to 200,000, with 55,000 homes as well as offices, hotels and mosques (MEED 26:3:08).

A further development, valued at $7bn, which will target tourism and housing, is being planned by the local Kingdom Holding. The site is on the Riyadh-Dammam highway in the north-eastern outskirts of the city.

In February, Kingdom Holding approved plans to develop a 5.3 sq km site in the north of Jeddah. The SR50bn ($13.6bn) real estate project will include the ‘Mile High’ tower (MEED 22:2:08).