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Saudi project worth $63B seeks North American retail partners, investors

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Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The Diriyah project, a $63.2 billion real estate development near Riyadh, is pursuing investment from outside Saudi Arabia, Diriyah Company president Mohamed Saad tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The company is already in talks with North American retailers like Saks parent HBC to help develop Diriyah Square, the retail portion of the project.

Zoom in: "We have already had significant interest from leading international retail brands," Saad says.

  • The broader Diriyah project has already partnered with the hotel brands Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Capella, he notes.

What they're saying: "Diriyah Square is a truly global project, and we anticipate securing a wide-ranging mix of retail partners and investors," Saad tells Axios.

  • "We have been delighted with the response that we have had from the retail sector here at the World Retail Congress in Paris," he adds.

Zoom out: Diriyah Company was set up in 2023 and is a part of the portfolio of Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Between the lines: Private equity has shown a growing interest in investing in real estate. Asked if PE could be tapped, the company said PIF is "well placed to benefit from a wide range of investment opportunities and partnerships."

  • "As with every giga project within Saudi Arabia, we are working with funds provided by PIF and seeking to attract investors worldwide," Saad says.

Context: The project is being built near historical Diriyah, the original home of the Saudi royal family, which is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

HBC declined to comment.

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