Saudi Wealth Fund to take over struggling financial hub

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, has finalized a deal to take over finishing Riyadh’s $10 billion financial hub. They will now be responsible for the completion of the King Abdullah Financial District from the Public Pension Agency.

Hilmi Ghosheh is the nominated project manager who will oversee its’ completion to prevent additional delays and overspending. Ghosheh will continue in his current role as an adviser to the PIF’s real estate projects.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman says the restoration of the financial district is one of his objectives of the Vision 2030 economic reform. The government plans to make the area an economic freezone with visa exemptions and direct access to the airport. The construction of the city began in 2006, north of Riyadh, with 73 buildings.

The government altered the plans of the city, to reduce the number of offices and increased the number of residences. The first phase of the city is planned to open in 2018, and the G20 conference is expected to be hosted there in 2020.

The government are seeking banks to invest in the project, offering incentives such as tax breaks lasting a decade or more, and separate regulations, making it easier to hire and issue work visas, said Waleed Aleisa, chief executive officer and project manager of the district at developer Al Ra’idah.

The PIF are responsible for many real estate developments in Saudi Arabia, including the new city, NEOM, that will be built along the coast of the Red Sea, an entertainment city on the edge of Riyadh and another tourism project on the Red Sea.