The agreement sets out a comprehensive development timeline based around three phases that lead up to 2035 with AECOM’s program management team implementing the $15-billion Phase 1 development in AlUla’s core 20 kilometre historical area. This incorporates social, economic and sustainability projects in five unique hubs with a focus on infrastructure, hospitality, arts and culture, and social and community development.
“AlUla is one of the world’s largest and most complex development programs, home to more than 30,000 sites of historical significance, and we are proud to help realize the city’s vision for the future,” said Lara Poloni, AECOM’s president. “In partnership with RCU, we look forward to leveraging our global program management and technical expertise to deliver a sustainable legacy that transforms AlUla for generations to come.”
Through the partnership, AECOM will accelerate business and investment opportunities from 2022 onwards and demonstrate the pace of progress to revitalize AlUla as a responsible, sustainable and community-inclusive destination.
“This new long-term strategic partnership with AECOM is critical to realizing our ambition of creating a global benchmark for sustainable tourism,” said Amr AlMadani, RCU’s chief executive officer. “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.”
Creating opportunities for the local community is a core aspect of AlUla’s development plan and AECOM’s approach. AECOM has already invested in training 400 AlUla residents to achieve professional vocational qualifications and will provide additional professional skills development and knowledge transfer opportunities both for residents and those relocating to AlUla for work.
“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 also establish a Lead Design Office responsible for all infrastructure design activities from setting standards, delivering the digital ecosystem, leading innovation, managing designers, delivering scopes and supporting the realization of a carbon-neutral strategy and circular economy. Further, asset and facilities management will be provided for the project lifecycle along with the benchmarking and development of smart city plans and projects. The value of AECOM’s contract is expected to be included in its reported backlog in the first quarter of fiscal 2022.
AECOM and RCU share a common commitment to sustainability. AlUla’s Sustainability Charter, which sets the priorities and approach to transform AlUla in a resilient and sustainable manner, aligns with AECOM’s Sustainable Legacies strategy, which ensures the work the company does in partnership with clients leaves a positive impact for years to come. These commitments will guide AECOM’s efforts on AlUla on everything from capacity building opportunities with the local community to responsible protection and development of AlUla’s heritage and environment.