5,800 buildings to make way for Grand Mosque expansion

5,800 buildings to make way for Grand Mosque expansion
Updated 05 February 2014

5,800 buildings to make way for Grand Mosque expansion

5,800 buildings to make way for Grand Mosque expansion

The government has appropriated 5,800 properties at a cost of SR75 billion for the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, according to the mayor’s office.
The latest appropriations include the Dar Al-Tawhid InterContinental Hotel and the building next to it that currently encompasses the old Hilton Hotel on the western and southern sides of the Grand Mosque.
The first phase of the Grand Mosque’s expansion included the removal of 1,150 properties at a cost of SR33 billion, while the second stage also included the removal of 1,150 buildings.
Abbas Qattan, the office’s assistant undersecretary for projects and supervisor of the northern expansion, said the owners of 700 properties have not turned up to claim compensation. In addition, the processing of 900 properties has not been completed because of problems around ownership.
“The properties of unknown owners are considered state properties until the owners show up with the required documents.”
Qattan said the real estate valuation committee established by a royal decree comprises representatives from government agencies and two property experts.
He said the removal of buildings in the central district did not include the eviction of people from their homes. These buildings had mainly been set aside for the accommodation of pilgrims, he said.
He said the government plans to build four power plants to provide electricity to the expanded area and a reservoir tank with a capacity of 560,000 cubic meters of water. There would also be nine other water tanks and several pumping stations built in the area, he said.
Qattan said the construction of the first, second and third ring roads have been approved. The fourth ring road, which currently exists and is connected with King Faisal Bridge, would be upgraded by the end of next year at a cost of SR7 billion including construction and property appropriation costs.
He said a new route would be opened exclusively for sanitation trucks to enter the holy sites. The secretariat is also building many new bridges, intersections and tunnels in Makkah to facilitate traffic.