Jeddah to have major facelift, covering over 60 undeveloped neighborhoods

January 27, 2022
One of the undeveloped areas in Jeddah.
One of the undeveloped areas in Jeddah.

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Jeddah, the Bride of the Red Sea, is going to have a major facelift with dismantling and developing of the slums and undeveloped neighborhoods.

According to Saleh Al-Turki, mayor of Jeddah, there are more than 60 undeveloped neighborhoods in the city. Some of these neighborhoods, including Gulail, have already been dismantled while electricity and other utility services were disconnected earlier this week to some other neighborhoods including Kandara and Hindawiya prior to the demolition of the buildings in those areas.

About three months ago, the mayoralty started serving notices to the inhabitants to evacuate their residential and office buildings in these neighborhoods. Although the mayoralty had taken decisions several years ago to develop slums, especially in the central, southern and eastern parts of the city, it failed to implement the decision for one reason or the other. However, last November, the mayoralty announced that it had completed a draft scheme to develop slums in 32 neighborhoods spread over an area of more than 214 million square meters.

It is interesting to note that only 24 million square meters of these areas have bona fide ownership documents and title deeds.

Two years ago, the mayoralty started carrying out studies about the scheme to develop these neighborhoods through eight projects. This was part of a massive plan to develop slums in cities all over the Kingdom.

By the end of the year 2020, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majed Al-Hoqail announced a mechanism to develop slums and undeveloped areas within all mayoralties in all provinces and governorates across the Kingdom. An administrative unit has been established for the purpose with the name of Central Regions Development Department, which is associated with the Ministry's Agency for Urban Planning.

At that time, the minister said in a statement that these departments would be responsible for developing slums; setting controls, standards, guidelines and a general policy to develop slums with active participation and partnership of the community so as to ensure the success of the project.

While addressing Makkah Economic Forum in 2019, Jeddah Mayor Saleh Al-Turki stressed that the main focus of the mayoralty was to improve the infrastructure in slum areas.

“The mayoralty’s focus is to extend excellent services as quickly as possible with developing neighborhoods where there are no services that enable it to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. The mayoralty has set indicators and targets to develop the pillars of improving the quality of life,” he said while noting that there are over 60 neighborhoods, some of which need to be completely removed and others need to be developed.

The mayor also pointed out that the experiment of developing Ruwais neighborhood and Khuzam Palace area were failed in the past.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, who is also chairman of the Board of Directors of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Jeddah Central Development Company, launched on Dec. 17 the master plan of the Jeddah Central Project, previously known as New Jeddah Downtown.

The ambitious SR75 billion project is meant to develop 5.7 million square meters of land overlooking the Red Sea to be financed by PIF as well as by the local and international investors. The project, will further strengthen the city’s economy, envisions the creation of a world-class destination overlooking the Red Sea in the heart of Jeddah.

The ambitious project is expected to achieve an estimated added value of SR47 billion for the Kingdom’s economy by 2030. It will include four notable landmarks — an opera house, a museum, a sports stadium and an oceanarium.

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