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Saudi Real Estate, Starwood agree on Riyadh project

[DUBAI] Saudi Real Estate Co has agreed with US firm Starwood Hotels and Resorts to build two hotels next to a district of Riyadh which the government plans to develop into an international business zone.

Starwood will manage a five-star hotel under its Westin brand and a four-star hotel under its Element brand, Saudi Real Estate, which owns the land, said on Sunday without giving details of construction plans.

The project will be adjacent to the multibillion-dollar King Abdullah Financial District, the company said. The district was launched in 2006 to house banks and the financial regulator but has struggled to attract tenants.

The government said in April that it would rescue the financial district by transforming it into a special business zone with competitive regulations, visa exemptions for foreigners working there, and direct connections to Riyadh's international airport.