Saudi Crown Prince Announces New $100B City To Be Built In 170-KM Straight Line
One of the most ambitious real estate plans in the world is beginning to take shape. Well, technically it isn't a shape.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia in a video presentation on Sunday announced The Line, which he called the centerpiece of the $500B Neom project underway on the eastern edge of the country, Arab News reports. True to its name, The Line would operate like a city on a 170-km straight line from a promontory on the coast of the Red Sea through multiple deserts and a mountain range.
Like the rest of Neom, The Line is promised to be powered entirely by sustainable energy and operated as a smart city. Running underneath The Line will be digital infrastructure for energy and data transport as well as underground public transit. Much of the energy infrastructure needed to support The Line is projected by the Saudi government to be completed by 2025, Reuters reports, with The Line itself reported by Arab News to be promised for 2030.
Salman, commonly referred to as MBS, envisions the unique construction as the way to truly center environmentally sustainable transport over contemporary automobiles.
"With zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions, you can fulfill all your daily requirements within a five-minute walk, and you can travel from end to end in 20 minutes," Salman said during the announcement.
From end to end, The Line is designed to have four main clusters of development: the Coastal, Coastal Desert, Mountains and Upper Valley modules. Together, they will make up the urban core of Neom, supported by energy and logistics development in the 10,000-square-mile megadevelopment.
The Line, which Salman estimates will cost $100B to $200B on its own, will primarily be financed internally through the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, the country's sovereign wealth fund that has also funneled billions into venture capital vehicles like SoftBank Vision Fund. Some unnamed private investors have already committed to put up capital in the project, Arab News reports.
Though Neom is designed and planned to be an international business hub, aligning with Saudi Arabia and Salman means being connected to a regime with a poor civil rights record led by a man accused of ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.