Saudi Arabia has awarded to two Saudi firms contracts to build worker housing for its futuristic mega-city called Neom, as plans for the $500 billion project move forward.
Tamimi Group and Saudi Arabian Trading & Construction Co. won contracts to finance, build and operate three residential areas with capacity to house 30,000 people, Neom said in a statement on Sunday. The areas will be part of a so-called “Construction Village,” which Neom later plans to expand to accommodate more than 100,000 residents, it said. Neom did not say how much the contracts were worth.
Along with plans to sell shares in state oil company Saudi Aramco, Neom is a centerpiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan to end the kingdom’s dependence on crude and diversify the economy. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund is spearheading the development of the project on the Red Sea coast, and work has begun on the first phase, called Neom Bay.
“The awarding of these contracts is another milestone in our journey to turn the Neom dream into a reality,” Neom chief executive Nadhmi Al-Nasr said in the statement. “Building a giga-project the size of Neom is a great challenge that requires manpower to settle there for years to come.”
In an interview with Bloomberg in October 2017, Prince Mohammed said that by 2030, the completion date for his transition to Saudi Arabia 2.0, Neom will contribute $100 billion to economic output.
The name comes from “neo,” meaning new, and “m,” the first letter of mustaqbal, Arabic for future, he said. There will be 12 small cities or towns next to the sea in Neom and others in the valleys and mountains, he said in another interview a year later, as well as an industrial zone, a huge port and several airports.
The first phase of the project, Neom Bay, which includes the Khurayba and Sharma villages, was originally scheduled for completion in 2021. US engineering firm Aecom was awarded the project management consultancy contract for the bay earlier this year.