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KHC names top architects for giant Jeddah project

Jeddah, February 11, 2013

Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), the investment firm chaired by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, has appointed Calthrope Associates as the lead master planner for its Kingdom City project, which includes the world’s tallest tower, in Jeddah.

Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ), one of the largest UK architectural and design firms best known for the design of award-winning Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Clubs, has been named the urban architect.

The Kingdom City project, which includes the world’s tallest tower (Kingdom Tower) with a height of over 1,000 m, is estimated to cost SR75 billion ($20 billion). The SR4.6 billion Kingdom Tower will be the centerpiece and will be as part of the first construction phase of Kingdom City Jeddah.

Prince Alwaleed who initiated and has been the driving force behind the decision to build the world’s tallest tower in Jeddah, had last year announced the investment of SR1.5 billion from the Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG) for a 16.63 per cent stake in Jeddah Economic Company (JEC), owner of the mega project.

JEC is a new urban development of more than 5.3 million sqm of land in the north of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea and Obhur Creek.

The key partners of JEC are KHC with a stake of 33.35 per cent, SBG (16.63 per cent), Abraar International Holding Company represented by Samaual Bakhsh (33.35 per cent) and prominent Jeddah businessman Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly with 16.67 per cent stake.

The final licence to construct the tower was formally received from the Jeddah municipality in February 2012, it added.

A two-day workshop was held last October with Calthorpe and GAJ to finalise the scope of work and financial offers, said a statement from the Kingdom Holding Company.

Established in the UK in 1847, GAJ has also received international awards for The Arabian Courtyard, Residence and Spa at the One & Only Royal Mirage Hotel and the Bab al Shams Hotel.

The firm is now working on an array of high-profile projects including the new Manchester United Academy at Dubai Sports City, Palm Jumeirah and a selection of international hotel groups.

Commenting on the move, Prince Alwaleed said, “Jeddah tower is on a solid strategic execution path.”

 Talal Al Maiman, the executive director, Development and Domestic Investments, chairman and CEO of Kingdom Real Estate Development Company and a board member of KHC and JEC said the careful strategic planning has paid off and the execution of the world's tallest building project has started in Saudi.

Prince Alwaleed recently held the third meeting with the Jeddah Project partners Saleh Bin Laden, Samaual Bakhsh and Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly.

During the meeting, Prince Alwaleed awarded a piling contract worth SR152.8 million to Saudi Bauer under the supervision of SBG, the main contractor.

“We are confident that upon completion, Kingdom Tower will become one of the world’s great tourist destinations as well as one of the most attractive places to live and work in the region,” said Sharbatly and Bakhsh in a joint statement.

“Also we believe this project will create thousands of jobs, spurring the local economy,” they added.

Yahya Bin Laden said SBG will provide all necessary technical and logistic support to Saudi Bauer to successfully complete the piling phase.

An interdisciplinary team led by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), based in Chicago, created the design of the Kingdom Tower. The team also included building services engineering consultants, environmental systems design and structural engineering consultants, Thornton Tomasetti, engineer of three of the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.

JEC selected the AS+GG scheme after a lengthy competition process in which SOM, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Pelli Clarke Pelli and Foster + Partners also participated.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: tower | Saudi | Jeddah | Kingdom Holding Company |

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