Located southeast of the Haram Mosque, the Jabal Khandama development will have a total built-up area of about 2 million square metres. Under the plan, the Mecca Development Authority (MDA) aims to create housing for about 24,000 people. Land sales for the first-phase programme began at the end of 2005. Phase 1 will include construction of apartments, hotels, shopping centres, municipal buildings and prayer facilities for 40,000 pilgrims. Project costs are initially estimated at about SR 6,000 million ($1,600 million) with infrastructure alone accounting for about SR 400 million ($110 million).

According to the competition timeframe, the 10 selected firms will be invited to submit initial proposals by the end of June and final detailed designs by the end of August. Germany’s Phase Eins is providing consultancy services.

Jabal Khandama is one of several mega developments planned in the holy city to cope with the rising number of pilgrims each year. Other projects include the estimated SR 10,000 million ($2,100 million) Jabal Omar development, the Shamiya residential development, which will also include expansion of the Haram Mosque’s northern courtyard, and the mixed-use Jabal al-Kaaba development.

In late December, Mecca Development Authority (MDA) approved an updated masterplan for the proposed major new developments in the holy city. Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami) assisted MDA in revising the 23-year-old plan, which will entail the construction of accommodation units for 3 million residents and a traffic network to handle 8 million pilgrims.