The local real estate company Injaz Development Company expects to tender the first major construction package for its estimated SR5bn ($1.3bn) residential project in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia early next year.

The first construction package that Injaz will tender covers the infrastructure work required for the 3.3 million square metre Al-Marina project, which be located between Al-Khobar and Dammam in the Eastern Province.

 “Design authority approval has been obtained, and we are just awaiting final network district approval. We expect to tender the main infrastructure contract in the first quarter of 2011,” says Omar Abdullah al-Kadi, managing director, Injaz.

The planned Al-Marina project will include 636 villas, 74 tower buildings and 70 mid-rise tower structures. The development will also contain shopping malls, schools, mosques and other recreational facilities.

The infrastructure work will take about 24 months to complete.

Dubai-based architects Cracknell provided the masterplan for the residential scheme, and US-based Aecom has designed the proposed infrastructure.

The local CIMS Project Management Consultancy is managing the development.

Injaz is also developing a 2.5 million sq m residential development in northern Riyadh. Injaz will sell the masterplanned plots for its Al-Gamra in four clusters. Each cluster will contain 600 villas. The initial infrastructure work for the project has already been completed.

Injaz has sold all of the plots for the first cluster, and has sold about 40 per cent of the plots for the second area.

Injaz’s Al-Marina and Al-Gamra projects are two of the many large-scale residential schemes planned in Saudi Arabia in an effort to address the country’s housing shortage.

 “Saudi Arabia is currently facing a housing problem. The government estimates that the kingdom will need a million new homes in the next five years. This means that there is plenty of opportunity for developers like Injaz to press ahead with large projects,” says Al-Kadi.