Masterplan for KSA's new financial district cleared

DUBAI — The Executive Committee of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) has approved the masterplan for the construction of the KAFD in Riyadh.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 8 Mar 2007, 8:34 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:47 PM

The first excavation work is scheduled to begin within weeks and the first building is expected to open around the end of 2008. Detailed work on the design of the infrastructure is also about to begin.

When complete, the KAFD will be by far the largest financial centre in the Middle East. It will be the spearhead of Saudi Arabia's strategy to promote private sector development in order to diversify its oil-rich economy and increase employment opportunities for its young and fast growing population.

The KAFD Executive Committee consists of many of Saudi Arabia's senior financial decision makers, including Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al Assaf, Minister of Finance; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khrashi, Governor of the Public Pension Authority; Abdulrahman Al Tuwaijri, acting Chairman of the Capital Market Authority; Hamad Al Sayari, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and Prince Dr Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf Al Miqren, Mayor of Riyadh.

The master plan for the KAFD divides the new financial centre into three areas. The first part, 'The Leaf' will be the heart of the KAFD. It will be a mixed-use area, consisting of 23 per cent residential, five per cent retail and the rest office space.

Two-thirds of the area will be in the public realm, including an aquarium, a museum, hotels, an exhibition centre, a conference centre and mosques.

The second part is 'The North West Area'. Support services, utilities and parking will be located in the North West Area.

The third and the last part will be 'The South Area'. The South Area will be residential and office accommodation.

The Executive Committee has sought to incorporate the best ideas of all the world's leading financial centres and — as a completely new centre — to avoid the mistakes that others have made.

Thus a feature of the centre of the district will be the absence of motor cars and the creation of pedestrian areas.

Although there will be 40,000 parking spaces, they will be located largely on the perimeter, and notably in the North West Area. Travel within the "noise barrier" will be by monorail and by giant skywalks — giant bridges in the sky linking multi-storey buildings. The skyways will be climate controlled and modelled on successful earlier innovations such as the 16 kilometres of skyway linking the main buildings in Calgary, Alberta, in Canada.

At the centre of the KAFD will be a modernised concept of a wadi — a central waterway, around which will be established a working ambience for the growing workforce in the financial sector. Thus there will be squares and parks, cafes and restaurants and sports arenas for football, basketball and volleyball.

The King Abdullah Financial District will be the headquarters for the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and the Commodity Market, and for financial institutions and other service providers such as accountants, auditors, lawyers, analysts, rating agencies, consultants, and IT providers.

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