Al Akaria Saudi Real Estate Co (SCRECO) has announced plans to build Al Widyan, a 700ha mixed-use project, in Riyadh’s northern corridor.

According to a statement by the Saudi real estate giant, Phase 1 construction activities are expected to cost $2.7bn (SAR10bn). Work on the ambitious project already began last year with transportation and traffic impact studies completed and approved.

SCRECO said Al Widyan will seek a 40% reduction in energy use and a 35% reduction in water consumption, and will be delivered over a phased programme, expected to be carried out over a seven-year period. The development's official launch is expected in Q4 2018.

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Numerous memorandums of understanding (MoUs) have already been signed with the group’s commercial partners, with dialogue ongoing with a wide range of other potential Saudi and international stakeholders.

Located 15 minutes from the Riyadh International Airport and 20 minutes from downtown Riyadh, Al Widyan is the first private real estate project to be granted the status of a self-regulatory office, which, according to SCRECO, de-risks activities for investors, reduces complexity in the development phase, and fast-tracks permit services.

SCRECO added: “Co-developers and sub-developers will be able to enjoy significantly shorter go-to-market timelines, making the project an attractive investment opportunity with fast and efficient procedures that will cut through bureaucracy and remove the need to engage with central government authorities.”

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Speaking on the move, Abdulrahman Almofadhi, chairman of SCRECO’s board of directors, said: “Al Widyan will be a new paradigm for community living in the kingdom and will embody the spirit of new Saudi Arabia, and the power of human talent to conceptualise and develop the future that we aspire to for our children, communities, and nation.”

He added: “We are building legitimate proof of concept, locating key partners and investors and beginning construction.

“In line with this approach, our operations and projects are increasingly independent of public sector funding, and open to investors from all over the world. We look forward to revealing more details to the public in October.”