By Beatrice Thomas
Saudi township project will also house citizens displaced by the Grand Mosque expansion
Saudi’s SR60 billion ($16bn) Makkah Gate housing project will accommodate about 800,000 people when it is completed in 15 to 20 years, according to an official working on the project, it was reported.
On Wednesday Prince Mishal Bin Abdullah, emir of Makkah, was briefed on two township projects outside the holy city, including the Al Bawaba (Makkah Gate) and the Sumuw township project, Saudi Gazette reported.
Makkah Mayor Osama Al Bar said the 2.6 million square metre Sumuw township was adjacent to the Makkah Gate project and comprised 6,000 housing units, 11 mosques, including three large ones, shopping complexes and office buildings.
On completion, the township will have a population of 25,000.
Makkah Gate Company, a non-profit firm owned by the Al Balad Al Ameen Development and Urban Regeneration Company, the investment arm of Makkah Municipality, said Makkah gate would be about 90 million square metres and is located 14km west of the Grand Mosque.
Mahmoud Al Maghrabi, deputy director of the company’s department of land affairs, told local daily Al Madinah that the project will accommodate all citizens who may have to leave their homes in Makkah because of the Grand Mosque expansion.
Al Maghrabi said just over half of the project will be within the holy precincts of Makkah while 46 percent of it will be in the Al Hal area.
“The project will consist of 45 model districts. It will include a complex for government offices, road projects, an amusement park, educational and health institutions, public utilities and shopping malls,” he was quoted as saying.
Also, a university, cultural facilities, museums and heritage centres will be built as part of the project, as well as a national amusement park.
He said the project would also include a 500,00sqm housing complex for employees.