To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Eco-friendly mega-city that cost $100 billion has been left a ghost town for years

Eco-friendly mega-city that cost $100 billion has been left a ghost town for years

Sometimes big plans don't get finished.

Every time you see an ad for an impressive mega-project like The Line in Saudi Arabia, it might be worth remembering that in some cases, enormous infrastructure projects don't actually get finished.

The perfect example is Forest City, a simply massive project in Malaysia, funded and constructed by Chinese business interests, that has seen only 15% of its structures actually built.

It was unveiled by China's largest property developer Country Garden in 2016 and was estimated at that time to cost around $100 billion to complete.

A look at Forest City which appears desolate.
Getty/MOHD RASFAN / Contributor

At that point, China's economy was booming and huge building projects were springing up all over the place, but things haven't stayed that simple since then.

Country Garden now has debts of over $200 billion hanging over it, but told the BBC last year it is "optimistic" about finishing the project.

Forest City's name was an accurate one since the city was intended to be an ecologically forward-thinking paradise that sat on a gorgeous beach and was absolutely full of greenery and trees.

It was aiming to have enough space for up to a million residents, but while it was billed as a paradise for anyone, observers have since argued that it was actually marketed at affluent Chinese citizens looking for a second home abroad for holidays.

With only 15% of the city built, though, and just 1% of that slice actually occupied, it's now a hugely polished ghost town surrounded by construction sites.

Part of the problem was that the project was intended to gain further funding by selling flats as they became available, but a lack of interest in those flats has apparently ground things to a halt.

The pandemic undoubtedly played a part in this, too, since it arrived just as flats were starting to hit the market, making purchases more unlikely for a time.

This aerial photo taken on June 16, 2022 shows a general view of Carnelian Tower (L) and condominiums at Forest City.
MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images.

Now, those few people who do live in Forest City describe an eerie environment that is conspicuously empty, pitch-black at night and with large gaps without habitation. Some residents are apparently living as the only people in a whole floor of flats, showcasing just how under-filled the area is.

One resident told the BBC: "I feel sorry for people who actually invested and bought a place here. If you were to Google 'Forest City', it's not what you see here today. It should be the project that was promised to the people, but that's not what it is."

Another renter who has since left the area said that by the time he left after six months, he "didn't care about my deposit, I didn't care about the money. I just had to get out".

Featured Image Credit: MOHD RASFAN / Contributor / Getty