Masterplan revealed for Saudi ‘Giga Project’

Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) has unveiled the masterplan for its sports and entertainment resort in Saudi Arabia, with the ‘Giga Project’ to feature a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium and an 18,000-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, amongst a host of other attractions.

The subject of a StadiumBusiness.com Project Profile in August 2018, the masterplan for the ambitious scheme was revealed yesterday (Wednesday). Located around 45km from the capital Riyadh, Qiddiya aims to deliver on many of the central tenets embodied in Vision 2030, an initiative that seeks to diversify Saudi Arabia’s interests away from the oil sector.

QIC said Qiddiya is set to become the Kingdom’s ‘Capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts’ with facilities and experiences that will bring together new opportunities and exposure at a scale and format never before seen.

The masterplan for the project, created in conjunction with Danish architectural company Bjarke Ingels Group, has been constructed with careful consideration to the natural patterns of the site, giving rise to a green-belt network carrying visitors throughout the property on roads, bike paths and walkways built within an enhanced landscape environment.

The 334 square kilometre site envisions development covering only 30% of the land leaving the remainder dedicated for natural conservation. The site is organised around five primary development nodes, each with a unique purpose.

The ‘City Centre’ will be home to a collection of sports venues including the 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, 18,000-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, an aquatic centre and a sports hub capable of hosting a cross-section of individual sports activities and events. Arts and entertainment facilities will seek to create a buzz throughout the city with an innovative arts centre, a signature 2,000-seat performing arts theatre and a multiplex cinema.

The ‘Resort Core’ represents the heart of Qiddiya where four gated-attractions surround a central specialty retail, dining and entertainment district along with a portfolio of resort hotel offerings. Adjacent to the 15-hectare Retail, Dining & Entertainment district, is a major outdoor entertainment venue capable of hosting events from 5,000 to 40,000 visitors in a park-like setting punctuated with active skating and skiing facilities.

The 2022 opening phase features Six Flags Qiddiya, a family-oriented park filled with rides and attractions distributed throughout six themed lands. A second feature park is a water-oriented sports and entertainment attraction, which includes an integrated resort hotel.

The third feature is the ‘Speed Park’ which brings together events and experiences from the world of motorsport in a venue that places equal emphasis on spectator and driver. The Speed Park includes tracks, showrooms, retail, a driver’s club and a luxury hotel within its gates.

To the North West of the Resort Core sits the ‘Eco Core’ designed around a series of nature and wildlife encounters, an ecologically-sensitive golf course, outdoor sporting adventures and several unique hospitality offerings that seek to take advantage of the desert environment.

The ‘Motion Core’ to the South East of the Resort Core, will be home to events, experiences, residential and hospitality offerings that are driven by the science and technology of people in motion.

Finally, a ‘Golf and Residential Neighbourhood’ sits near the centre of the property where panoramic vistas of the project are available from an array of residential and resort offerings that include a championship 18-hole golf course and club house facilities, a resort hotel and spa and equestrian facilities – all accessible from villas, townhomes and private retreats.

QIC was formed in May 2018 as a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. The project broke ground in April 2018 and phase one is set to open in 2022. A three-phase approach is currently underway for the entire project.

“The people of Saudi Arabia share the universal desire for enriching experiences, and our plan allows Qiddiya to unlock access to these experiences in a new and culturally relevant way, encouraging personal and professional pursuits that foster enrichment,” said Michael Reininger, chief executive of Qiddiya Investment Company.

Bob Ward, chairman of the Qiddiya Advisory Board, added: “This project sets a new global standard for the seamless integration of visitor-focused experiences and an innovative mix of program pieces, delivering an unparalleled entertainment destination.”