The metaverse has been on everyone’s radar over the last year and it’s picking up steam in cities around the world. South Korea’s capital Seoul just launched a new metaverse project that is open to the public, and a number of cities in China are rolling out metaverse plans to help them do everything from offering virtual tourism to streamlining mundane but important tasks like filing municipal paperwork. But first, the Saudi Arabian government has once again announced an eye-popping new real estate development.
Saudi Arabia has unveiled its newest real estate development in the capital city of Riyadh. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is behind the country’s latest ambitious project, New Murabba, a massive downtown development that will encompass seven square miles—roughly a third of the size of Manhattan. Described as a “Gateway to Another World” on the project’s official website, the centerpiece of the new development will be an enormous, cube-shaped skyscraper called the Mukaab, the width of which will stretch almost a quarter mile long in each direction. The supertall building’s design is described as being so large, it could house 20 Empire State Buildings. Within the greater New Murabba development will be hotels, office space, entertainment venues, a design-focused university, and 100,000 residential units, all across 22 million square feet of space.
The New Murabba announcement comes after the Saudi government made headlines last summer when it unveiled design plans for The Line, a 100-mile-long skyscraper that will eventually house 9 million people once completed. The development is a part of the country’s first-ever smart city, Neom, a $500 billion development announced in 2021. Like The Line, New Murabba is slated for completion in 2030. Construction has begun on The Line and other parts of Neom, however, a lot of questions remain surrounding how exactly the ambitious project will actually come to fruition. As we reported last year, aside from some impossible-to-execute architectural concepts, the project is behind schedule and is likely to soar past its $500 billion budget.