Spread over a 2.5-million-sq-m area, AlWadi will feature five distinct districts.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) launched two companies last month – Ardara and Al Balad Development Company (BDC) – to spearhead its ambitions to position the country as a cultural and tourism destination.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced Ardara, mainly to develop its flagship destination ‘AlWadi’ in the Asir region.

Spread over a 2.5-million-sq-m area, AlWadi will feature five distinct districts, each offering unique experiences, consisting of 2,000 residences – with options ranging from luxury apartments to modern villas, a selection of high-end hotel accommodations, commercial spaces and high-quality office areas, all developed in harmony with the region’s identity and historical legacy.

It will adopt architectural styles and an image inspired by the heritage and unique character of the Asir region. A first-of-its-kind urban lifestyle destination for local and international tourists, AlWadi will adhere to global sustainability standards and champion dynamic lifestyles by dedicating over 30 per cent of the project’s area as green and open spaces, offering a 16-km waterfront, 17 km of walking and cycling tracks, as well as cultural activities and community gatherings.

Ardara aims to provide numerous investment and partnership opportunities for local and international investors in multiple economic sectors including hospitality, arts, culture, food and agriculture, retail and entertainment, it stated.

The second company, Al Balad Development Company (BDC), meanwhile, will become the main developer of Jeddah’s historic Al Balad district.

This is in line with the efforts led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to revitalise Historic Jeddah to transform the Red Sea port city into an economic hub, and a global cultural, heritage and tourism destination.

The company will focus on improving the district’s infrastructure, overseeing the restoration of historic buildings in Al Balad, and developing service facilities as well as recreational, residential, commercial, hotel and office spaces.

The overall project development area will comprise 2.5 million sq m, with a total built-up area of 3.7 million sq m. This includes 9,300 residential units, 1,800 hotel units and around 1.3 million sq m of commercial and office space.