September 27, 2017 / 1:28 PM / a year ago

Saudi sovereign fund to redevelop Jeddah waterfront in $4.8 billion project

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) will lead the redevelopment of Jeddah’s waterfront corniche in an 18 billion riyal ($4.8 billion) project that will include housing, shops, museums and a marina, the sovereign fund said on Wednesday.

The project, to be built over 10 years, is part of economic reform plans that seek to move Saudi Arabia’s economy beyond dependence on oil exports by expanding industries such as tourism and entertainment.

The PIF, which is the country’s main sovereign wealth fund and is believed to have about $180 billion of assets, is being mobilized to support many such projects. Its statement did not specify how much money the PIF would invest or how much would come from other investors including the private sector.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s commercial capital, is the largest port city on the Red Sea and the main gateway to Mecca, but its appeal to tourists has been limited by haphazard urban planning and a lack of public transport. The government plans a metro system for the city.

The PIF’s waterfront project will have an area of 5 million square meters (54 million square feet) and include hotels as well as 12,000 housing units. Construction is due to start in 2019 with the first phase of the project likely to open in the final quarter of 2022, the PIF said.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Andrew Torchia

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