The cornerstone of this project will be the gigantic complex in Tahrir Square.
The complex was once the seat of the bureaucracy stretching across Egypt and has now been vacated pending its re-design as a multi-use space, possibly including serviced apartments, office space and food outlets.
Ayman Soliman, head of Egypt’s Sovereign Fund, said in an interview that several unions are competing to change the design of the building currently owned by the fund, and the winner will be chosen within days.
“We are calling for a master plan that reimagines the entire downtown area…which we call Khedive Cairo,” he added, referring to Khedive Ismail, during whose reign the downtown area was built in the 1860s and 1870s.
“Khedivial Cairo is full of government-owned buildings,” he explained.
Suleiman said the fund’s major assets, including old Ministry of Interior buildings a few blocks from Tahrir Square, could help establish an ecosystem for startups, venture capital and incubators.
The fund is also looking to develop a site on the bank of the Nile that used to be the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party, with designs that could include use for commercial, residential and hospitality purposes.
Soliman said the fund is working with owners, operators, developers and other investors, and could acquire some of the vacated government assets in its effort to help transform the downtown area.
“Within five years we should have a very clear and vibrant appearance,” he added.
The gradual relocation of government employees to the new city, which is being built 45 kilometers east of Cairo and is currently called the New Administrative Capital, is expected to begin by the end of the year.
The city, which was announced in 2015 to eventually accommodate 6.5 million people, was designed to ease congestion in the crowded downtown Cairo.