For over 50 years, Saudi Arabia has depended on oil to power its economy. But in recent years, the kingdom has looked for new ways to diversify away from petroleum and create jobs.
The Saudi Arabian government has been working in recent years to transform hundreds of square miles of desert into new cities.
One of the developments under construction is the King Abdullah Financial District.
Below, take a look at the plans.
Designed by architecture firm Henning Larsen, the 17.2 million-square-foot master plan calls for over 60 residential, office, and retail towers, several schools and parking garages, a medical clinic, civic buildings, and three hotels.
To cope with the desert heat, the master plan calls for a network of elevated passenger bridges cooled by solar power. Dubbed skywalks, they will connect 30 buildings in the district.
Construction, which began in 2006, is over 70% complete. The government doesn't have a set timeline for its completion.
The KAFD is envisioned as a business hub that will lure financial and law firms, banks, and the kingdom's stock exchange and capital-market authority (which is currently headquartered in Riyadh).
The district's 'Crystal Towers,' which opened this summer, house offices and retail. A skywalk connects the two buildings.
The Saudi government also said in 2016 that it will offer visa exemptions for foreigners working in the KAFD. Some of the kingdom's strict social codes, including one requiring women to wear dark robes, will be relaxed.
But authorities have yet to confirm these regulations, making it harder to attract people. Some potential tenants and investors are less optimistic than the district's planners about its future success.
'The potential is amazing. The inside is impressive,' one Dubai-based expat, who toured the site and preferred to remain anonymous, told Reuters. But he added, 'It will not be finished. Decision-making is very slow (on the project, and) people don't have cash.'
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