The local Thakher Real Estate Development Company is moving ahead with plans to build a large real estate project in Mecca, which is scheduled to contain 85 towers when completed.

The developer has received bids for a quality project management contract (QPMC) for the real estate scheme. Thakher City will include a hospitality area capable of hosting up to 250,000 pilgrims.

US-based Skidmore, Owings & Merril (SOM) is the architect for the scheme. In the fourth quarter of 2012, SOM appointed Italy’s Proger to provide engineering and consultancy services for the schematic design phase and design development of the real estate project.

The Thakher project is the latest in a series of megaprojects planned for Mecca, which attracts millions of pilgrims every year. One of these is the Jabal Omar Development, currently under construction, which will consist of 37 towers when completed.

In December last year, a joint venture of Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Company (ACC) and the UAE’s Drake & Scull International was awarded the estimated SR2.7bn ($720m) contract to build phase 3 of the Jabal Omar scheme.

The third phase of the Jabal Omar scheme will involve the construction of four hotel towers, with each tower ranging in height from 33 to 42 storeys. The total built-up area will be about 400,000 square metres. Two of the towers will house a five-star Hilton hotel and the other two towers will contain a three-star Double Tree by Hilton property.