The local Al-Dar al-Arabia Company has been awarded an estimated SR176m ($47m) construction contract to build the first phase of the residential part of the Knowledge Economic City (KEC) in Medina.

The work will involve the construction of 206 villas at the estimated SR1bn KEC development. The residential scheme will be located in the northwestern area of KEC. The first phase of the project is set for completion in 2012.

The entire residential part of the KEC development is planned to cover a total area of 586,000 square metres, and will involve the construction of 900 villas over four phases.

The completion date for the total residential part of the KEC development is 2014.

The contract was awarded to Al-Dar al-Arabia by Al-Marifa al-Akaria, a new venture jointly owned by KEC and the local Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Akaria).

The contract award follows the recent award of a SR305m contract to the local Al-Rajhi Construction Company, part of the Al-Rajhi Holding Group, to develop infrastructure for the northern area of the KEC development. Work began on the infrastructure in early May.