Confidential documents detail Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to build a modern marvel that will rival the pyramids of Giza, and the details do not disappoint. NEOM: The Line.
Unparalleled Parallel Buildings
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman al Saud (MBS), has made clear his plans for a most ambitious plan that he intends to rival the pyramids. First referred to as a “smart city”, the “Mirror Line” is a pair of parallel buildings running up to 75 miles long and rising to as high as 1600 feet in sections.
The two structures will feature a stadium built 1,000 feet above ground level, reaching the sea, bisecting mountains, a government housing complex, and an aerotropolis.
The buildings will be so long that they will require a high-speed train (or several I presume) to run underneath them and bring residents, travelers, and workers along the structure that is as long as Hadrian’s Wall or just longer than Interstate “405” in southern California.
Hanging hydroponic gardens will keep the buildings self-sufficient for fruits, vegetables, and grains though there was no mention of livestock.
The plan is part of the Kingdom’s NEOM, a radical transformation project to modernize the country and redefine it.
Will It Ever Get Built?
The exterior is to be reflective according to documents submitted to the Wall Street Journal, lending its “mirror” title to a double entendre. Designs were initially thought to cost as much $500 billion and take up to fifty years to complete. New estimates suggest it could be a $1 trillion project and the Prince has challenged his team to a far more expedient schedule.
However, the Crown Prince appears dedicated to converting his economy from petroleum to establishing it as a destination much like Dubai and diversifying the economy.
“If Saudi Arabia succeeds in building it, the structure would be like nothing else in the world. It is already challenging the urban planners who are designing it. For instance, they are facing a 2030 completion deadline imposed by the prince’s national transformation plan”
“[American design firm, Morphesis] propose building it in stages by creating 2,600-foot-long structures that will connect along a line, with varying heights up to 1,600 feet, higher than the Empire State Building.” … “Because the earth arches about 8 inches per mile, the documents say, designers propose leaving a gap at the top of the 2,600-foot modules to “bend” the structures around the world.” – WSJ
Buoyed by high oil prices, the Kingdom may not have an issue paying for the project, but the timeline would truly make the Line a staggering feat.
While NEOM has been a known quantity for some time, the new details about the line with specifics are an interesting addition. It also demonstrates MBS and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are willing to double down on their target of “Vision 2030” with the completion of major projects that seem improbable. I’m not sure that I am sold on the ability to finish the project on time, on budget, matching the huge aspirations, but frankly, it doesn’t have to be in order to be successful. We see other examples like the Burj Khalifa and Palm artificial island real estate development projects that seemed too distant to complete at the time they were proposed. If the Saudis are successful in NEOM and the Line, they will achieve the enviable modern world-leader designation for which they aim.
What do you think? Will the Line happen? How much of NEOM is going to be completed on time as expected? Will you add this to your bucket list destinations?