Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has announced the establishment of Al Balad Development Company, which aims to develop Jeddah’s historic district as part of the kingdom’s push to grow its tourism sector.
BDC will work with the private sector to transform Jeddah’s historic district into a global cultural and heritage destination, the PIF said in a statement on Tuesday.
The company will focus on improving the district’s infrastructure, overseeing the restoration of historic buildings in Al Balad and developing service facilities as well as recreational, residential, commercial, hotel and office spaces, the PIF said.
The overall development area of the project will be about 2.5 million square metres, with a total built-up area of 3.7 million square metres.
This includes 9,300 residential units, 1,800 hotel units and about 1.3 million square metres of commercial and office space, the fund said.
“The aim is to transform it into a leading tourism destination that attracts visitors from around the world, thus contributing to economic development, with the company also working to offer attractive investment opportunities and quality commercial options for the people of Jeddah,” it added.
“The establishment of the company aligns with PIF’s strategy to develop and enable the real estate and tourism sectors, contributing to the realisation of Vision 2030.”
One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the PIF is at the centre of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from hydrocarbons.
The total volume of the fund's assets under management amounted to more than 2 trillion riyals ($530 billion), with aims to double that by 2025, PIF governor Yasir Al Rumayyan said in May.
The PIF has been instrumental in creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and intends to create 1.8 million by 2025, Mr Al Rumayyan said at the time.
It also intends to inject up to 1 trillion riyals into new projects in Saudi Arabia and “will continue its efforts to diversify the economy, support local content, develop innovative opportunities for the future and contribute to creating an attractive environment for investments”, he said.
The fund is investing heavily in new projects in the kingdom, working to pump $40 billion to $50 billion into the local economy to generate jobs and boost the non-oil economic base of the country.
Since 2017, the PIF has established 84 companies in 13 sectors.
“The company will collaborate with the private sector and specialists to develop the area’s infrastructure according to the best standards of urban planning for historic areas, taking into account environmental sustainability and preserving the unique heritage of historic Jeddah: a Unesco World Heritage site,” the PIF said.