‘We are looking at various locations across the kingdom,’ Issam Galadari, managing director of Emaar Saudi Arabia, told MEED on 15 April. ‘Most of the Saudi population are young, need good housing and are looking for a good quality lifestyle. We are looking to attract this type of customer.’

Work has started on three projects. The most advanced is Khobar Lakes in the Eastern Province. The scope of works covers construction of about 2,500 villas surrounding an artificial lake, municipal buildings, schools and retail outlets. Construction has started on the sales centre as well as site preparation and the lake excavation. The villas will be built in phases.

Emaar is working on two new developments in Jeddah. The Jeddah City development, located near the old airport, will comprise about 5,000 apartments ranging from four-six storeys and two office buildings of about 20 storeys.

The second development, Jeddah Hills, will be located on a mountaintop site to the north of Jeddah overlooking the city. ‘It will have a Hollywood Hills feel to it,’ said Mark Emirault, senior director for international development at Emaar. The project is in the design stage. The US’ Turner Construction International is project and construction manager on both Jeddah schemes.

Other projects are also planned. ‘We are considering how we can do something in Mecca,’ said Galadari. ‘We are looking for a long-term relationship. We are not a developer that works on a hit and run basis. We are going there to stay and look after our name and reputation. We want people to trust us.’