GCC countries are planning $1 trillion of megaproject investments in order to transform economically and socially. Time seemingly stood still for much of the world at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But in the GCC region, the landscape continued to evolve with new developments coming on the way. In this article, we will take a look at some of the biggest construction projects expected to open their doors soon in the GCC region.

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Yas Bay, UAE

Yas Bay, UAE - Construction Projects

To the south of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the $3.2 billion mega-project Yas Bay is planned to house 15,000 people. Residents and visitors will enjoy their time at nineteen parks, retail space, leisure and entertainment zones, a waterfront, and a pier with 37 food and beverage outlets. Parts of this project on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, such as the Etihad Arena and Hilton hotel, are already open to the public.

Moreover, The Yas Creative Hub is set to transform the capital into a global media and entertainment powerhouse.  Yas Creative Hub is a 270,000 square-meter megaproject (about the size of 10 football pitches) that will have around 16,000 professionals working there. This project will feature five towers with more than 600 businesses.

Diriya Gate, Saudi Arabia

Diriya Gate, Saudi Arabia - Construction Projects

Located on the outskirts of Riyadh, Diriya Gate is a $17 billion development built on the site of the UNESCO-listed site of At-Turaif; the sprawling mud-brick capital city founded in the 15th century. Known as the ‘pearl of Saudi Arabia’, Diriya Gate will be a great step to put Saudi Arabia’s tourism attractions on the map. It will form several luxury resorts, managed by leading international hotel brands, and include more than 100 dining and entertainment attractions. The first hotel in this project is planned to open in late 2021.

The project’s location on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh is where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to expand from its current population of 5 million to 15 and 20 million by 2030 and become one of the 10 richest cities in the world.

The National Aquarium, UAE

The National Aquarium, UAE - Construction Projects

One of the biggest construction projects in GCC is The National Aquarium in the United Arab Emirates. It will be the region’s largest aquarium and it will feature 10 aquatic zones spread over 5,000sqm. The National Aquarium will feature local marine life and more than 250 species of fish, birds, amphibians, arachnids, and reptiles, live underwater shows, and a huge walk-through tunnel.

The aquarium is part of the mega-project Al Qana which also will be open soon. Located on Khor Al Maqta, Al Qana will offer tourists visiting Abu Dhabi and local residents, new dining, entertainment, and a waterfront destination. Al Qana will also be home to a cinema, VR zone, E-Sports arena, and a lifestyle wellness hub.

The 8,000 square meter space, known as ‘The Bridge’, will have seven zones dedicated to different forms of health and wellness. Al Qana aims to bring to Abu Dhabi a new community with activities, including cycling, running, group yoga, HIIT, Pilates, and more.

The Beachfront, Jebel Sifah, Oman

The Beachfront, Jebel Sifah, Oman - Construction Projects

The Beachfront, which is planned for completion by the end of 2021 is cleverly designed across an elevated masterplan that steps up from the beach towards the mountains inland and boasts a variety of inspiring social areas that stand as an ode to nature and the outdoors. At the heart of the development is a stunning infinity pool, alongside kids’ play zones, and outdoor seating areas. An attractive beach promenade stretches 550-metre across the beachfront.

A 40-minute drive from Muscat, Jebel Sifah is located between the towering peaks of the Al Hajjar Mountains and features a Harradine-designed golf course. With a modern marina that includes superyacht berthing, a boutique hotel, restaurants, and a choice of freehold residential properties, around 90% of the project’s 118 units have already been sold.

Qiddiya Entertainment City, Saudi Arabia

Qiddiya Entertainment City, Saudi Arabia - Construction Projects

Phase 1 of Saudi Arabia’s 334km2 Qiddiya Entertainment City is set to complete in 2022. The project will be built in Al-Qiddiya, which is located 40km west of Saudi’s capital city, Riyadh.

The development will feature facilities such as amusement parks, game cities, racing fields, and safaris. Additional planned facilities include toy cities, recreation centers, and sports facilities, training academies, desert and asphalt tracks for motorsports enthusiasts, water and snow recreation activities, outdoor adventure spaces, and safari and nature experiences, as well as historical, cultural, and scientific activities.

Qiddiya will also include shopping centers, restaurants, cafés, hotels, and real estate projects. The development will be based on five major themes, including parks and attractions, mobility, nature and the environment, sports, and health, culture, arts, and education.

Sea World Abu Dhabi, UAE

Sea World Abu Dhabi, UAE - Construction Projects

UAE has the lion’s share of construction projects in GCC. The UAE-based Miral has partnered with SeaWorld Entertainment to develop a marine-life theme park in the country’s capital by 2022.

The 183,000-square-metre venue will boast purpose-built habitats and ecosystems housing a variety of species. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be a next-generation marine life-themed park experience, as well as the UAE’s first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation, and return center with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life.

Expo 2020, UAE

Expo 2020, UAE

After the global pandemic forced the Expo’s postponement, the show will go on. Dubai’s Expo is full steam ahead as one of the most eagerly awaited construction projects and biggest event in 2021. The event represents a $7 billion gamble by the city to boost international tourism and investment.

Years in the making, almost 230,000 workers have worked tirelessly on the site which is set to welcome millions of people from 190 nations in October 2021. There are 192 country pavilions on the 438-hectare site, with some of them requiring up to 200 staff each.

Spanning 4.38 square kilometers and in the Dubai South district, close to Al Maktoum International Airport, and within easy reach of Dubai International Airport, the mega-construction project is near completion. One of the main attractions will be Al Wasl Plaza – a dome filled with fountains, waterfalls, parks, and palm-lined courtyards.

Dubai’s Expo will feature its own metro line, and it’s capable of transporting 36,000 passengers per hour.


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