Completion uncertainty over Saudi Arabia’s KAFD

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), a smart city development worth $11.6bn, is yet to be assigned a definitive completion date, it has been found.

Sources have revealed a completion date for KAFD cannot be fixed yet since additional buildings are still being planned for the project.

The project was initially due for completion by 2015.

“From the original 34 buildings planned in a 1.6m sqm area for the project, there are now 112, and more are being added,” a source told local daily Arab News, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if more buildings are added in the near future.

The source, it is reported, works for one of KAFD’s supervisory and project management companies, and added that “one of the biggest buildings [at KAFD], if not the biggest…belongs to the Capital Market Authority (CMA), with a height of 385m”.

“Being a smart city, everything [at the development] is state-of-the-art. There is seamless Internet access and security, which means you feel as if you were home though it’s a smart city,” the source added.

If and when the project is finished, the source continued, it will be one-of-a kind because “it will certainly draw attention of the world.”

“It has 10 big attractions that include a world-class conference center, a science museum, an amusement park, spa (for men and women) and infrastructure that includes wireless Internet connection, among many others,” he said.

The departure of illegal expat workers following the Kingdom’s crackdown in 2013, as a part of its Saudisation initiatives, was intially blamed for causing a delay on the project.

International media outlets have previously claimed KAFD could be substantially unoccupied, primarily since the “new financial district has thrice as many high-end office spaces as the rest of Riyadh”.

Contractors working on KAFD include some of Saudi Arabia’s largest firm, such as Saudi Binladen Group, El Seif, Nesma, Al-Fanar, Saudi Systra, Cityscape (for landscaping), and Al-Bawani.

KAFD is being developed by the Rayadah Investment Corporation on behalf of the Kingdom’s Public Pension Agency .