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“100 billion for 2.5 km”, the city of the future The Line is a financial pit

© Neom

Will Prince Mohammed Ben Salman (MBS), Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia since 2022, have to draw a line under The Line, faced with exponentially escalating costs? ? The megaproject, consisting of a 500 meter high skyscraper stretching nearly 170 kilometers in a straight line, is seen, depending on your point of view, as the city of the future, or the largest aberration of recent years. It must be said that although the idea may seem elegant on paper, it comes up against several realities: never in history has an individual actor attempted to construct a building so big.

The total office and housing space will exceed the entire city of New York by 29% – it will be, if the project is completed in the current terms, a millionaire megacity in terms of number of inhabitants, which will of course have to be convinced to move to a structure barely out of the ground. Quite the opposite, or almost, of the way in which the cities which have the most coast until now were founded and developed.

Why Neom costs explode ?

However, all this would be nothing if the cost of the project was controlled – and that the errors of the project owners do not follow one another. An article from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reveals the not-so-reassuring behind-the-scenes of this extraordinary construction. The start of the work would be so chaotic that the cost of the first 2.5 km would already exceed $100 billion. And the difficulties would have already forced the MBS project to revise its schedule downwards.

By 2030, no longer 16 km of The Line will be open, but only 2.4 km – enough to house less than 200,000 people, instead of “millions” of residents planned at the end of the first phase. Neom's difficulties sometimes make us smile a little. For example, the firm reportedly spent $5 billion to build housing for the approximately 100,000 workers dispatched to the site. All this to have to quickly destroy them, the route of the line (revised many times in the meantime) crossing them.

Elsewhere, the excavation of a 15 meter deep marina was carried out. But the mountain of waste and soil from the operation was deposited right in the path of The Line, forcing Neom into a very costly reexcavation operation to move this artificial obstacle. We can, however, end on a positive note: it is probable that these errors will provide the project managers with useful experience for the future, and will allow the mons to complete the project. ;#8217;a portion of the project.

It remains to be seen whether this line will be maintained, or whether the project immediately faces an end that is as anticipated as it is abrupt. The project's official website, in any case, seems primarily dedicated to attracting big investors at this stage. We understand that this is becoming essential, even if we wonder who will dare to mobilize funds in the hundreds of billions of dollars for construction with an increasingly uncertain future.

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  • The construction of The Line in Saudi Arabia comes up against harsh realities according to the WSJ.
  • The multiplication of errors on site leads to a spiraling cost.
  • Ultimately, The Line could cost more than 2 trillion dollars , according to the most conservative revised estimates.
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    Teilor Stone

    By Teilor Stone

    Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116