The local Al-Manafie Real Estate Company is expected to tender the main construction packages for its $3bn al-Manafie Towers development by the first quarter of 2012.

The excavation contract is expected to be tendered in the next four to six months, and tenders for the main construction packages are expected to be tendered towards the end of 2011 or in the first quarter of 2012.

Mecca contract awards
Year ($ bn)
2006 2.8
2007 1.9
2008 3
2009 3.3
2010 7.2
Source: MEED Projects

The development will include 12 towers, each with a maximum height of 27 floors. The total built-up area for the development is more than 1 million square metres and will contain hotels, apartments, retail facilities, medical facilities, car parking and a bus station.

A key element of the project will be a monorail, which will link the development with Mecca’s holy mosque.

It has not yet been ascertained whether the 12 towers will be tendered as one contract or separated into smaller packages.

The design of the mixed-use development is expected to take 10 months, ground excavation work six months, basement and podium construction work 18 months and the towers and hotel apartments 36 months.

US-based Hill International was recently awarded a four-year contract worth an estimated SR82m ($21.9m) contract by Al-Manafie to provide project management services on the development.

The launch of the Al-Manafie Towers project is a sign of the increasing role of the private sector in the kingdom’s construction market.

“The current construction boom it is generally instigated by the government funded projects. But on the back of those they are corporate and private individuals that are investing as well,’’ says Michael Severs, business development director for Saudi Arabia, Hill International.

The kingdom’s population has grown by more than 25 per cent over the past decade, from 21.5 million in 2002 to more than 27 million in 2010. With it set to continue growing at a rate of 2 per over the next five years, there is an urgent demand for new housing and infrastructure.

 ‘’’It is an exciting time in Saudi for the construction industry, we are tendering lots of works. Things are buoyant, things are pushing ahead,’’ adds Severs.

In September last year, Hill was awarded a SR69.8m ($18.6m) contract to privide project mangaement services for the Jabal Omar mixed-use project in Mecca (MEED 5:9:10).