We recently blogged about the US Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (see 2005 Jeddah ARB Recommended “Remote Safe Areas” for Embassies – Upgrades Coming … Or Maybe Not). Then, as often the case, a reader writes; this time with a question — hey, do you know that we have constructed the shell of a new consulate in Jeddah on a big compound that just sits empty?
Nope, didn’t know that. We’ve been looking around and saw this:
The OBO website has few details about the Jeddah New Consulate Compound (NCC):
Estimated Construction Completion: February 29, 2012
General Construction Contractor: TBD
Architectural Firm: [blank]
Back in 2007, Arab News actually covered this new site. The NCC according to the news, citing a statement from USCG Jeddah, was supposed to start construction in late 2007, and be completed in 2009:
JEDDAH, 13 August 2007 — The US Consulate in Jeddah is to be relocated within two to three years at a new site on the corner of King Road (Al-Malik Road) and Sari Street. Work is currently under way to prepare the new location, which will also serve as the consul general’s residence.
According to a press release posted on the consulate’s website, the newly appointed US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ford M. Fraker visited the new site on May 20 accompanied by Consul General Tatiana C. Gfoeller. The press release, however, did not identify the location.
“The visit follows a recent agreement approved by the Government of Saudi Arabia to purchase land for the new Consulate General compound. Construction for the new facilities will begin later in 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2009,” the statement said.
Then on June 10, 2010, in an article titled, Did the State Dept go to bat for First Kuwaiti? McClatchy News added a piece to the Jeddah puzzle:
“The official noted that Aurora was terminated from the Jeddah contract on May 10 this year, after 90 percent of the contract period had expired, with only 54 percent of the work done. (Aurora, according to other letters we obtained, is demanding $10.5 million in breach damages from the government, as well as $5.7 million for work it performed).”
If First Kuwaiti sounds familiar, that’s because in August 2011, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) also reported about this in Contractor Behind Bungled Embassy Construction Sends State Dept. List of Claims Totaling $375 Million.
The State Department official who spoke to McClatchy News in June 2010 confirmed that the Jeddah contract was terminated in May 2010 with only 54% of the work done.
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Bureau of Overseas Building Operations’ Design and Construction Program for FEDCon 2013 – The Market Outlook on Federal Construction dated January 9, 2013 listed the Jeddah NCC (see slide 24) as one of the recently awarded projects. The contractor listed for the project is the American International Contractors (AIC). According to its website, in 2012 AICI-SP was awarded contracts for construction of Department of State facilities in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Taipei, Taiwan. It looks like the Jeddah NCC contract was for $100,543,000.00 awarded on 28 Sep 2012 for a 24 month duration.
If the Jeddah NCC originally started construction in 2007 with a 2009 completion date, and the original contractor was terminated in 2010, the termination happened when it was already behind schedule. We presumed though cannot confirmed that a new contractor was selected after that with an expected delivery date of February 29, 2012. If that worked out, there would not have been a reason to re-award this contact in 2012. But there it is.
If anyone has a clearer and more straight-forward timeline for this project, please feel free to leave a comment or drop a line via contactify. This new consulate is supposed to replace the old consulate which was attacked by terrorists on Dec. 6, 2004 and again on May 12, 2006. We’d like to understand how this NCC can be 3-5 years behind schedule. And if the 2012 contract is for $100,543,000.00, how much would be the total cost of Jeddah NCC when you add all the previous contracts for this facility alone? Is this phase whatever of one contract?
We don’t know anything more than what we’ve written here, which is not a lot, but — if this facility has been under construction since 2007 and in 2013 you can walk around in there and not a creature is stirring, something is the matter. And not knowing the answers to the what and whys are nagging us, um, literally to death!!
Now on the off chance that you’re reading this from Jeddah and doing your visa and ACS interviews from inside this new NCC, please send us a note and tell us when you moved in.
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I can’t speak to these exact circumstances, but I know of at least one other NCC in the world that is taking this long. Part of the issue is if these projects run out of money, it literally takes an act of Congress to get construction moving again.
Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was
extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.
To the best of my knowledge, nothing happened with the NCC Jeddah project between the termination for default of the first construction contractor in 2010 and the award of the re-launch contract in 2012. The half-completed buildings just sat there gathering dust. I don’t know why; I presume the OIG and Congress must be satisfied with the reason, whatever it is.
That’s strange, but really not much stranger than the 2+ year delay between the terrorist attack in December 2004 and the award of the first contract in 2007. You get the impression no one is in a big hurry to replace the old consulate.
Thanks TSB, I’ll have a follow-up post on this.
So when senior State Dept folks say something like “nothing is more important to us than your safety, and making sure you have secure places to live and work is our top priority” that’s really just butter up diplomacy.