Phase one of the Mecca project is expected to cover 824,000 square metres of the site, and the construction cost is expected to be SR10bn ($2.6bn).

The first phase of the development, which comprises 21 towers in total, will feature nine towers to be constructed through a build-operate-transfer contract.

Construction is expected to last five years.

Rawabi Abraj al-Bait is one of several major developments planned for Mecca.

Other major schemes include the Abraj al-Bait, a collection of towers including a 577-metre tower, which is being developed by Saudi Binladin Group.

Foundation work is also due to begin by the end of the summer for the $2.7bn Jabal Omar project, which includes the construction of six five-star hotels and seven 35-floor residential towers (MEED 10:6:08).