Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz will launch a number of projects in Makkah this Sunday, including an extension to the courtyard of the Grand Mosque, expansion of the Ajyad Hospital, and construction of new residential and commercial complexes at Jabal Omar, Shamiya, Jabal Khandama, and Jabal Kaaba. He will also inspect the 50-year development plan for Makkah prepared by the Makkah Development Authority.
Work has already started on some of these projects. The new projects come as part of the government's efforts to enhance facilities for the welfare and security of the millions of pilgrims who come from all over the world for Hajj and the minor pilgrimage of umrah. The projects are aimed at developing disorganized areas in the center of the holy city after removing old and dilapidated buildings. The total area to be developed is estimated at 587,250 square meters, 90 percent of it consisting of old buildings. More prayer space will be created as well as accommodation facilities, and over SR40 billion [U.S.$10.67 billion] in investment is expected. Real estate sources have calculated land prices at between SR175,000 and SR250,000 [$46,667 and $66,667] per square meter.
The Jabal Omar project alone, which involves residential facilities for 100,000 people, air-conditioned prayer facilities for 100,000 and an open prayer space for 120,000 more, will provide around 25,000 jobs for Saudis. A joint stock company called the Jabal Omar Development Company will be set up to implement the project, with a capital of SR3.5 billion [$930 million] including SR1.1 billion [$293 million] in shares for property owners in the area, and SR850 million [$226.7 million] floated for public subscription.
As for the Shamiya project, Saudi businessmen are expected to invest some SR3 billion [$800 million] for this and a company will be formed to implement the project. The Makkah Development Authority will be issuing a plan for development of the area and the establishment of multistory residential towers there.