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Saudi Crown Prince in talks with Sotheby's for new art centre

The archaeologically rich Al-Ula region in Saudi Arabia will reportedly get a Sotheby's hub

Sotheby’s is reportedly in talks with Saudi Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman [pictured] to build a cultural centre in Al-Ula.
Sotheby’s is reportedly in talks with Saudi Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman [pictured] to build a cultural centre in Al-Ula.

US auction house Sotheby’s is reportedly in talks with Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to build a cultural centre in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.

According to Bloomberg, the move is part of a plan by the Saudi Crown Prince to turn the kingdom into a major cultural destination, one of his many ambitious plans for Saudi Arabia.

The centre would, the news outlet added, be built in the archaeologically rich Al-Ula region in the northwest of the country – an area where the Nabeteans, a formerly nomadic tribe of skilled craftsman and traders, carved elaborate buildings out of sandstone more than 2,000 years ago.

READ: Saudi Crown Prince leads Red Sea project briefing for King

Allan Schwartzman, co-chairman of Sotheby’s fine art division, reportedly has a two-fold connection with the project. Serving on the advisory board of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, he also leads Art Agency Partners, the auction giant’s advisory arm, which has submitted a plan for a sprawling contemporary art initiate on the site.

The collaboration with Sotheby’s is in an “exploratory phase,” Rosie Marsh, a spokeswoman for the royal commission, said in an emailed statement to the news outlet.

READ: Saudi Crown Prince commends $76.5bn non-oil revenue in 2018

The news comes as the kingdom looks to diversify its economy away from oil through its Vision 2030 agenda, positioning itself as a tourism and cultural destination through various high profile projects like the $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom megacity and the Qiddiya entertainment city.

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Construction Week - Issue 753
Nov 09, 2019