Saudi Arabia’s Defence Ministry has invited contractors to submit bids to build the first phase of its planned Military Medical City on the outskirts of Riyadh.

The ministry has set a bid deadline of 10 March for the construction contract. The first phase of the hospital will contain 1,500 beds, as well as laboratories, warehouses and administrative buildings. The construction contract will include providing infrastructure and utilities.

The hospital will contain 3,500 beds when completed. The medical city will be built on the Riyadh Airport highway, and will be located near the Princess Noura University.

As one of several medical cities the Saudi government is planning, the project is part of an expansion of healthcare infrastructure to cope with rapid population growth.

Contractors are currently working on submissions for the estimated $2.5bn King Abdullah Medical City project. Located 28 kilometres from Mecca and 56km from Jeddah, the development will include hospital buildings, research centres, administration buildings and a housing community, with a total built-up area of nearly 1 million square metres.

In February, contractors were invited to prequalify for the estimated $1.2bn King Khaled Medical City project in Dammam. The scheme will cover a total area of 700,000 sq m and will include a 1,500-bed hospital, residential complex, research centre and an international academy. The client for the project is the local King Fahad Specialist Hospital group. The US-based team Aecom/Ellerbe Becket is the architect and lead designer for the medical scheme.

The US’ Vanir Construction Management was awarded the contract to provide project management services for the medical project in January 2012.