The crown prince aims to make the centre of the Saudi capital "the most modern in the world"

Bin Salman launches a multi-billion-dollar project to modernise Riyadh

photo_camera PHOTO/ Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of the Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS - Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman

Building "the most modern centre in the world" in Riyadh is the goal of a multi-million-dollar project announced today by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, who expects the project to contribute some 45 billion dollars to his country's GDP when it is operational in 2030. The MBS announced today in an official statement the launch of the 'New Square' company, which will be responsible for the construction of numerous buildings, including luxury real estate, sports, tourism and entertainment venues in the capital of the ultra-conservative Arab kingdom. 

"The launch of New Square aims to develop the world's largest modern centre in the city of Riyadh," the statement said, according to the official Saudi news agency SPA. It explained that the project "is based on implementing sustainability standards and increasing the quality of life in its designs", and includes the construction of museums, educational centres specialising in technology and design, theatre and more than 80 spaces for live performances and entertainment, in addition to commercial spaces, among others. 

He also said the project includes the construction of an iconic tower, the "cube", as a "civilised symbol for Riyadh", 400 metres high and the same area wide, which "will include the latest innovative technologies and unique features" and "will be one of the largest landmarks in the world". The "cube" will have spaces for "many brands, cultural landmarks and points of attraction for guests and visitors, as well as hotel and residential units, commercial office spaces and entertainment facilities", it was added.

The note did not disclose the total cost of these projects but said it "will create 334,000 new direct and indirect employment opportunities and contribute 180 billion rials (about $45 billion) to GDP when completed in 2030". 

Bin Salman has announced numerous luxury tourism projects worth tens of billions of dollars in recent years as part of a plan to diversify his country's heavily oil-dependent revenues. Among several other projects to modernise and open the country are the city of Neom in the northwest of the kingdom and a series of hotels on 22 pristine islands in the Red Sea.

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