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US builder to manage Riyadh business hub expansion

Parsons KAFD Riyadh KAFD
100,000 people are expected to live and work in Riyadh's King Abdullah Financial District
  • Parsons previously worked on Riyadh metro
  • Expansion to include 1 million sq m of offices
  • 100,000 people to live and work in KAFD

US construction and engineering company Parsons Corporation has won a contract to manage the expansion of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).

The Virginia-based business said it has been awarded a five-year contract by the KAFD Development and Management Company for Saudi Arabia’s prime business and lifestyle destination. 

The contract supports the expansion of the district in new, undeveloped land, Parsons said in a statement. The Riyadh hub plans to expand its 1.6 million square metres of office space, retail and luxury residences.

It features more than 2,900 residential units with 6,100 five-star hotel keys and branded apartments, and includes the tallest skyscraper in Riyadh, at a height of 385 metres with 80 floors.

That represents about 40 percent of the KAFD land bank. Its expansion plans include adding 1 million sq m of office real estate, 130,000 sq m of retail, 1,000 apartments and around 70 food and beverage outlets. 

By the end of next year, about 100,000 people are expected to be living and working in the business hub. 

Pierre Santoni, president, infrastructure, EMEA at Parsons, said it was ‘‘one of the world’s largest real estate projects with a ground floor area of five million sq m” and called KAFD “a physical manifestation of Saudi Vision 2030”.

He added: “The district ecosystem embodies the core values that underpin the kingdom’s sovereign goals.”

The company has a regional team of 6,000 employees. Earlier this month it announced it had been selected to deliver design engineering consultancy services to Qatar’s Public Works Authority, more commonly known as Ashghal, for a new road and infrastructure framework. 

The $52 million, six-year contract includes conceptual, preliminary and detailed design for roads and infrastructure projects within Doha city.

Parsons first began working with Ashghal in 2002 and most recently collaborated with it to deliver transportation planning services for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

That year it was also appointed to provide project management support on the building of Oxagon, Neom‘s reimagined industrial city. The company previously worked on Riyadh’s metro project, Abu Dhabi airport and Dubai’s design district.

At KAFD, Parsons will provide project and construction management services for developing commercial, hospitality, residential, municipal, and mixed-use buildings and the associated infrastructure to support the high-rise development. 

The company said all of the district’s new buildings being constructed obtain LEED certification, the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

“We remain steadfastly committed to reducing our carbon emissions,” said Gautam Sashittal, CEO of KAFD DMC. 

Earlier this year, Sashittal said he is working on a “huge number of projects” that will be progressed over the next two to three years, with the aim of creating the “next benchmark” of Grade A+ office space.

King Abdullah Financial District is owned and managed by KAFD Development and Management Company. The wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund features a total of 95 buildings.