With a built-up area of about 230,000 square metres, the scheme involves the construction of six five-star hotels, seven 35-storey residential towers, a four-level retail concourse and car parking for 12,000 vehicles. The project also includes commercial developments, roads, gardens, schools, medical centres, air-conditioned plazas for 100,000 worshippers and open courtyards for prayers. Malaysia’s TR Hamzah & Yeang carried out the original masterplan.

The local Rio Trading & Contracting is working on the ground levelling and earthworks package for the entire development after being awarded the SR 93 million ($25 million) contract in November. The package is due to be completed by April 2007. Beirut-based Associated Consultants Engineers (ACE) International is the design consultant.

JODC, which has the licence to develop the Jabal Omar area, was recently given approval to raise its paid-up capital to SR 6,700 million ($1,786 million) from SR 5,300 million ($1,414 million). The company plans to float 30 per cent of its capital in an initial public offering later this year.