Medina auctions new properties

12 April 2002

The Executive Committee for Urban Development in Medina is preparing to hold an auction for two plots of land overlooking the Prophet's Mosque, the director of the committee Marwan el-Fahmi told MEED on 8 April. No date has been set for the two-day auction, which will involve the sale of two parcels of land covering a total of 1,700 square metres. Under the five-year masterplan for central Medina, the successful bidders will be required to build high-rise developments on each plot, each of which should contain a five-star hotel and at least three stories of commercial space, Fahmi said.

Real estate in the central areas of Mecca and Medina is among the most expensive in the world, and has been bolstered by the ongoing rehabilitation of the two holy cities. Residential and commercial property in the Jebel Omar complex in Mecca, which was marketed at the Investment & Property Show in Dubai in March, is valued at up to SR 5,000 ($1,300) a square foot. When built up, the plots of land in Medina are expected to have similar price tags, Fahmi said.

The Prophet's Mosque, the holiest site in Medina, was expanded in 1984 to accommodate the ever-increasing flow of pilgrims. The current five-year development programme focuses on the upgrade and expansion of nearby religious sites - including the Al-Ghamama Mosque, the Abu Bakr al-Sadeq Mosque, the Omar ibn al-Khattab Mosque and the Ali ibn Abi Talib Mosque - and the commercial and residential facilities surrounding them. Jeddah-based Zuhair Fayez & Partnersis the consultant for the development of both cities, which is co-ordinated by the Executive Committee for the Development of the Central Area.

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