The firm, Al-Mal Investment Company, issued a statement to the Kuwait Stock Exchange on 16 September announcing that it had entered a deal with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) to become the city’s sole developer.

One source close to the project tells MEED the decision to replace the existing developer, the local Rakisa, will lead to changes in the scope of the project. “I think there are going to be a lot of changes,” he says. “I think Al-Mal will downscale the size of the project and the consultants could change. I am not sure what is going to happen now. It is sorting out contractual issues.”

According to the source, Rakisa decided at a recent meeting to step aside from the project. “It is not being forced out,” he says. “Rakisa is saying it is still going to be involved in the project, but at this stage it is hard to say what that involvement will be.”

In August, Sagia said it was seeking to appoint a second developer to work on the scheme after mounting concern over progress on the project.

Abdullah Hameedadin, head of economic cities at Sagia, said at the time it felt more expertise was needed on the project. However, he also said Sagia had not ended its relationship with Rakisa (MEED 8:8:08).

Neither Sagia or Rakisa could be reached for comment.