Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund finalized the take over of the management of Riyadh’s US$10 billion unfinished King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), a large financial hub on the outskirts of the city, as the government attempts to revive the project.
Bloomberg reports the project also has a new leader. KAFD’s final development will be run by real estate investor and developer Hilmi Ghosheh, who will become project manager of the hub. Ghosheh is a graduate of the University of Texas-Arlington.
Talks of a PIF takeover of KAFD began in 2016, when the PIF reportedly offered 30 billion riyals ($7.9 billion) for the city. That is the amount “already spent on KAFD by the Saudi Public Pension Agency — plus the cost of undeveloped plots,” according to a Bloomberg report at the time. However, the latest Bloomberg report published today said that the cost was closer to $10 billion, although final figures are not available.
Saudi Arabia’s KAFD is an emblem of the ambitious development mindset of the Saudi government during a time of high oil prices. The project has come under critical review in the past 18 months as oil prices have crashed and the Kingdom’s leaders sought to reign in spending.