Riyadh is to launch within weeks design competitions for five towers in the capital. The buildings will have a total value of more than SR8bn ($2.1bn).

The towers are part of the King Abdullah Financial District, one of the largest building projects in the capital and a crucial part of the city’s regeneration plans.

Local firms are developing the towers, which will range from 150 to 300 metres in height. One source close to the project tells MEED the developers will invite architects to bid for the designs within the next month.

One tower is being developed by a joint venture of World Trade Centre Saudi Arabia and the financial district’s developer, the Public Pensions Agency (PPA).

Two further towers are being developed by the local Al-Rajhi Group. Local bank Samba is planning a fourth high-rise structure, with a fifth tower, which will house a commodities exchange, being jointly developed by the PPA and private firms.

According to the source, the towers are forecast to be worth SR8bn, with construction work to be completed by 2012.

The towers take the total value of projects being launched at the financial district to SR13.5bn.

As MEED went to press, the PPA was due to confirm the awards of four major contracts, covering the construction of 16 buildings and a mosque in the area (MEED 15:9:08).

Saudi Oger was due to be awarded a SR1.4bn design-and-build contract for two towers. The buildings will comprise a hotel and an office tower. The US’ Goettsch Partners and KlingStubbins are designing the tower.

El-Seif Engineering & Contracting Company is also expected to be awarded a SR1.3bn contract for the construction of four buildings, while Saudi Constructioneers is set to be handed a SR1.1bn contract for four further buildings. Saudi Binladin Group is expected to take a SR1.6bn contract for six buildings and the mosque.

The award of the building contracts has suffered a six-month delay caused by modifications to the masterplan. When completed, the centre is intended to be the largest business zone in the Middle East.

The near-SR30bn financial district project is located in the south of Riyadh, covering 1.6 million square metres. Alongside the planned towers, it will host the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul) and a financial academy for about 5,000 students.

Also within the financial district, the Capital Markets Authority, which regulates activity on the Tadawul, is developing a 380-metre-high building, which when complete will be Riyadh’s tallest tower.

The landmark building will be the authority’s headquarters. The local Omrania & Associates is designing the project in a joint venture with US architect HOK (MEED 6:10:08).

Denmark’s Henning Larsen Architects is responsible for the masterplan in collaboration with Omrania. The US’ Hill International is project manager for the entire financial district.