Prince Abdul-Majeed Bin Abdul-Aziz, the Governor of Mecca region has described Sunday's launching by Crown Prince Abdullah of giant development projects in the holy city as "an unprecedented historic event."
The new projects, aimed at expanding housing and prayer facilities for pilgrims, would cost SR35 billion (some US$9.3 billion), he added, according to SPA
He said the large-scale projects meant establishing a full-fledged city. "The new projects will enhance facilities for the millions of pilgrims who come to the holy city to perform their religious rites in peace and security," Prince Abdul-Majeed said. "These projects, a big jump to the future, will serve both the present and coming generations," he added.
Prince Abdul-Majeed noted the Shamiya project would include expansion of the Haram Mosque's northern courtyard by 1.5 million square meters. "This project alone will help provide housing for more than 205,000 pilgrims and prayer area for 400,000 people," he pointed out.
About 36 of 43 hectares in the Shamiya area, northwest of Haram, will be used for construction while the rest for the expansion of the mosque's courtyard.
The authority has proposed that those who invest in projects in the area, such as hotels and residential towers, shall expand the courtyard. Saudi businessmen are expected to invest some SR3 billion to develop Shamiya.
Some 46,000 square meters will be developed in the Jabal Al-Kaaba on the northeast of Haram. Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Company is planning to establish a number of hotels, commercial centers and public facilities there.
The massive projects launched by Crown Prince Abdullah included development of Ajyad Hospital located close to the Haram, construction of a new road parallel to the existing road linking the Haram with Jeddah-Mecca Expressway, and building of modern residential and commercial facilities in Jabal Omar, Jabal Khandama and Jabal Al-Kaaba areas around Haram. The projects are also aimed at developing disorganized areas in the central region of the holy city after removing old and dilapidated buildings.
The relevant authorities have already conducted a study on developing Ajyad Hospital and surrounding areas. The Public Investment Fund will carry out the hospital project after paying compensation to property owners in the area. (menareport.com)