KEO International Consultants is planning to finish the detailed masterplan of the first phase of Hail Economic City in July.

The Kuwait-based consultant will then deliver the plans for the 28-square-kilometre to the client, Saudi Arabia’s Economic Cities Authority (ECA), for approval which is expected to take between 30-60 days, says a source close to the project.

Once the detailed masterplan is approved, design of the infrastructure could take as long as 90 days, meaning construction tenders will not be issued until the end of this year or early 2011, said the source.

Officially known as Prince Abdulaziz bin Mousaed Economic City, the basic concept masterplan for the first phase of the estimated $8bn project was approved by the ECA in May this year (MEED 21:4:10).  

The 156-square-metre economic city based in Hail province was designed to serve as a logistical and transportation hub for Saudi Arabia’s growing agriculture industry. Major highways linking Hail with Medina, Jordan and Iraq are being planned to facilitate the necessary transport.

Hail Economic City will include the following districts:

  • Agriculture and food processing
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Agriculture and food processing services
  • Mining services
  • Entertainment
  • Residential

The first phase also includes a 12-square-kilometre international airport that will have a capacity of three million passengers a year and a railway station, which will cater for an additional two million passengers.   

Kuwaiti companies are heavily involved in Hail Economic City. Al-Mal Investment Company is developing the economic city and KEO is managing the project on behalf of the client.

Mohammed Abdulmohsin al-Kharafi & Sons Contracting (Mak) is working on the enabling, excavation and piling works on a four-tower development near the city’s central business district. The project is unofficially called Kharafi Towers.

The project includes a residential tower and three commercial towers and is reported to include the headquarters for Al-Kharafi & Sons and the ECA.

Agreements have also been signed to begin developing the city’s residential district. Diyar al-Kuwait will develop commercial and residential towers while UAE-based Rotana will develop and operate a luxury hotel.