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Makkah to build $400m housing for 25,000 hotel staff

THE LEVANT – Construction has started for the first ever integrated staff housing complex to be built in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Business can reveal.

The project, which was recently inaugurated by the Governor of Makkah, Prince Khaled Al Faisal, is being developed by Diyar Al Balad, a consortium of Saudis and Emiratis and is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2016.

The project is being built within the Makkah Gate Project accessible via the Jeddah Makkah Highway.

It will cater for up to 25,000 employees, primarily targeting employees working in the robust hospitality sector in Makkah.

The project, which is being undertaken by a newly formed company Retaj Al Balad Al Ameen, is a joint venture between Diyar Al Balad and Al Balad Al Ameen (a subsidiary of Makkah Municipality).

It has been successfully structured as a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop a gated mixed-use integrated real-estate development comprising residential units for families and bachelors, retail, school, hospital and recreational offerings.

Fahad Al Hashboul, chairman of Retaj Al Balad Al Ameen and vice chairman of Diyar Al Balad, told Arabian Business: “There is great potential and excitement in Saudi Arabia for the Makkah Development Plan, and as a result we strongly believe that it is timely for us to place strong emphasis on housing for the many thousands of people – both families and bachelors – working in the Holy city resulted from its implementation.

“This staff housing complex will cater for that need, and with the team we have assembled, will also be built to excellent standards.”

The Makkah Development Plan is for over $30bn for projects encompassing the area’s infrastructure, utilities, real-estate and tourism sectors. A number of projects around the Grand Mosque are already underway.

In addition to the primary sector of hospitality, it was estimated that a total of 562,140 workforce will be working in Makkah in 2013 and the size of the pool is projected to reach 668,973 in 2022.

The majority of the workforce is expatriates working in such sectors as construction, trade, manufacturing, telecommunication, financial related sectors and others.

“There is no doubt that the workforce will be here to support the implementation and that there is huge demand, the real challenge is to build the right type of accommodation to suit their needs. We envisage for this project to set the standard of such offering in Makkah.” Al Hashboul added.

Hani Baothman, managing director and CEO of Sidra Capital, the financial advisor to Diyar Al Balad added: “This is a major milestone for Sidra Capital and we are, undoubtedly proud to be part of the team in making the project a reality alongside this successful PPP between Al Balad Al Ameen and Diyar Al Balad.

“We have put a lot of efforts to continuously enhance the project’s value proposition to targeted stakeholders including investors whilst upholding the underlying objectives of the partnership. We have developed a stronger working relationships with existing stakeholders including Al Balad Al Ameen and we remain committed to support its plan envisioned under the Makkah Development Plan.”

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