Diriyah development authority kicks off phase one of its masterplan
Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has started the first phase of the biggest cultural project in the world at cost of SR75 billion ($20 billion), marking the start of a bold new era of construction for the city of Diriyah in Riyadh province.
Diriyah Gate will be one of the biggest renovation projects within the Kingdom. In its first phase, the project will include about 86 different sports, entertainment, dining and cultural sites, which will provide more than 50,000 human capital opportunities to locals as well as to expatriates.
The 7-square-kilometer project will also be home to more than 20 world-leading luxury hospitality brands. Diriyah Gate will be transformed into one of the world’s foremost lifestyle destinations for culture, hospitality, retail and education.
The government is proceeding with this project, counting on a rebound in pent-up consumer spending in tourism once the global pandemic abates. Several parts of the project are in construction and the first phase should be completed by the end of 2023.
One of the first areas to benefit from the transformation is the Bujairi district. Over the coming year, Bujairi will experience a major upgrade that will significantly beautify the area, improve infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for the community.
Bujairi will eventually be a hub to some of Riyadh’s new premium dining places with panoramic views of At-Turaif district and Diriyah Art Oasis.
A key aspect of the development is the restoration of two square kilometers of Wadi Hanifah, forming part of DGDA’s masterplan. This will include the restoration of the historic palm groves and farms, combined with new walking trails and picnic areas.
In addition to Bujairi and Wadi Hanifah, the initial phase includes the start of work on one of the world’s most complex underground infrastructure projects.
DGDA plans to turn this UNESCO world heritage site into a tourism, culture and entertainment destination, with 20 hotels, 12 museums, 18-hole golf course and world-class polo club, where the Saudi Polo Federation, as part of its mandate to promote and regulate the sport of polo in the country, will be acting as a strategic partner to DGDA.
Although the effects of the pandemic have caused concerns about the timely execution of key grand projects, investors who represent major hospitality companies and family offices are still showing keen interest in these unique tourist and cultural projects, including DGDA.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.