Dallas-headquartered Aecom has landed a programme management role in the $15bn first phase of the plan to regenerate the ancient Saudi Arabian city of AlUla in the country’s northwest.
Phase 1 focuses on the core 20-sq-km historical area of the city. Located on the ‘Incense Road’, the route for trading spices and luxury goods between South Asia and the Mediterranean, the walled city of AlUla was founded in the 6th Century BCE, and was home to ancient north Arabian kingdoms.
Aecom announced the strategic partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) on 29 October. It sets out a three-phase development timeline lasting until 2035. The first phase will undertake projects to improve infrastructure, hospitality, culture and community development with a view to promoting sustainable tourism.
“As we establish AlUla as an exciting business hub servicing the northwest Arabia region, we require world-class partners such as Aecom who share our desire to benefit the people of AlUla while creating unforgettable experiences for visitors,” said Amr AlMadani, RCU’s chief executive officer.
Aecom said it prioritised building local capability and has invested in training 400 AlUla residents to achieve vocational qualifications.
“We are excited to provide a range of integrated services across the entire AlUla program,” said Drew Jeter, chief executive of Aecom’s global Program Management business. “Our services will include program management to integrate all workstreams and major initiatives across RCU to implement the AlUla vision and outcomes, as well as a project delivery office that will work with RCU to implement best practices and delivery from design to construction and operation.”
Aecom will establish a lead design office responsible for all infrastructure and provide asset and facilities management along with the benchmarking and development of smart city plans and projects.
The RCU was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop the city.
Image: Ancient tombs at AlUla (Sammy Six/CC BY 2.0)