Saudi Arabia is in talks with regional and global investors for its first mega entertainment and sports city that’s being developed as part of the kingdom’s plans for life after oil.
“The project will be built on a combination of our capital that is deployed alongside investment capital from many other sources,” Michael Reininger, chief executive officer of Qiddiya Investment Co., told reporters in Riyadh on Wednesday. “We’re now engaging in these discussions with people who are coming to us and saying this seems interesting.”
The company is looking at options such as joint ventures, land leasing and privatization to fund the project, Reininger said. Funds from investors “will be put alongside our money and we’ll be able to leverage that both on the debt and equity side in order to finance the project.”
Qiddiya, backed by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, will cover 334 square kilometers outside of Riyadh and have a Six Flags Entertainment Corp. theme park, private race track and an off-road zone. The development is part of a list of mega projects that the Public Investment Fund has committed to as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tries to bolster non-oil revenue and attract foreign investors.
By 2030, Qiddiya hopes to draw 17 million visitors annually and build new sectors that will contribute up to 17 billion riyals ($4.5 billion) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product.
The PIF is also spearheading efforts to develop Neom, a $500 billion futuristic city being built from scratch. Critics say some past mega projects have struggled to get off the ground or add value to the kingdom’s economy.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.