DUBAI: ROSHN, a real estate company owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will be a major player in the development of real estate in Jeddah, said Amr Khashoggi, chairman of Amkest Group.
Deprived neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia’s coastal city are undergoing significant redevelopment after decades of relentless urbanization.
Jeddah’s municipal authorities are clearing districts and squatter settlements where planners say substandard infrastructure, crime, and disease are blighting the lives of roughly half a million people.
“Today, if you drive around in those areas, you will find flatlands available for development,” said Khashoggi on the sidelines of the Top CEO event in Dubai.
The area includes the historical region of the city, and Jeddah Islamic Port, the biggest gateway for Saudi Arabia’s imports and exports, with 75 percent of the country’s exports and inbound transshipment going through it.
“The biggest cost of development is the cost of land, and that’s available already, so it’s going to be easier for companies like ROSHN to come and develop high-quality housing and commercial investment,” he said.
ROSHN has announced on Monday a new development in northern Jeddah at a strategically located site that grants its population good access to the city via main roads and the public transportation network.
The new project — called ALAROUS — like other ROSHN communities, is designed to offer a modern, open lifestyle, while preserving the Kingdom’s rich heritage and local urban designs, the company said in a statement.
The new community will extend over approximately 4 million square meters and offer more than 18,000 thousand residential units designed to suit all segments of society. It features a range of integrated amenities that provide a high-quality and fulfilling lifestyle to its residents, including parks, pedestrian walkways, bicycle paths, restaurants, cafes, schools and mosques.
ALAROUS is ROSHN's second community, and part of a larger strategy of developing modern and vibrant neighborhoods in four regions and nine cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is also seeing other significant developments in the central of the city, led by Jeddah Central Development Company, including the coastal part known as the Jeddah waterfront. The area recently hosted Formula One, the highest class of international car racing.
“It will be a good area for people to entertain,” he said.
The city’s rebirth has led to a surge in demand for real estate and resulted in increasing prices.
“The demand is there, but the question is whether people can afford it or not,” said Khashoggi.
Banks today are contributing by offering mortgages in more accessible ways than before, which will help close the gap.
“We are in the building material business, and we see that the demand is increasing; many contractors have been awarded jobs,” he said.
To Khashoggi, the challenge today for the construction sector is not finding new projects; the challenge is finding enough labor.
There is a labor shortage; many have gone home during COVID-19 and never returned.
Amkest Group was founded by Amr Khashoggi in 1983, investing in sectors of landscaping, information technology, transportation, telecommunications, and building materials.