Makkah project finds a financier

Makkah's US $3.3 billion (SAR12.4 billion) Western Gate Road project in Jabal Omar has gained the backing of Saudi Arabia's Jadwa Investment to finance the construction.

NEWS, Business
NEWS, Business

Makkah's US $3.3 billion (SAR12.4 billion) Western Gate Road project in Jabal Omar has gained the backing of Saudi Arabia's Jadwa Investment to finance the construction.

The agreement between developer Jabal Omar Company and Jadwa is over 18 months.

The main construction contract was awarded last December to a consortium including The Binladin Group and Saudi Oger.

The project, located west of the Grand Mosque, includes seven 35-storey apartment towers, two 50-storey hotel towers, four 15-storey hotel blocks and a four-storey retail concourse.

It will create a model residential and commercial centre with new roads, pathways, tunnels, electric stairs and other facilities.

Infrastructure work on the project has already begun and the entire project is expected to be completed within 30 months.

"The plan includes a number of residential towers and 40 hotels," said Jabal Omar Company chairman Abdul Rahman Faqeeh.

According to Faqeeh, the project would cover an area of 232,000m2 and the towers will accommodate 34,500 pilgrims.

Concrete pours have started for the foundations of four towers overlooking the Ibrahim Street and two towers on the Umm Al-Qura road.

"It was a race against time to sign many agreements for utilities such as telephone, water and the sewage system to simultaneously serve 45,000 pilgrims," Faqeeh said.

Tenders from hotels like the Hilton, Sheraton and Movenpick are being assessed to manage several residential and hotel towers within the project. The development will create prayer areas comprising 94,000m2, including surrounding gardens for 78,000 worshippers, and will be linked to the Grand Mosque's sound system.

"These prayer areas could be considered an indirect expansion of the mosque," Faqeeh said.

A 2000-seat conference hall overlooking the mosque is also included n the plan.

The agreement between Jadwa and Jabal is for 18 months.

Faqeeh said the agreement reflected Jadwa's confidence in Jabal Omar Company, adding that Jadwa based its decisions on financial and market studies.

Jadwa will be providing both long-term and short-term finance. Long-term financing will be through Islamic sukuk distributed throughout the world.

"This is the second largest project for Jadwa in the Kingdom and we'll focus on projects in the Kingdom which is currently going through an economic boom," said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, managing director and CEO of Jadwa, adding that Jabal Omar is the largest financing provided by Jadwa.

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