At our meeting in the Hotel’s bustling Caffe Cino, Mr Ibrahim Atwa, Director of Business Development at the Makkah Hilton & Towers made the statement;
‘There is only one Makkah, there is only one black cube’
This was a perfect summary to the many questions I had asked him for my next blog series on expansion projects in Makkah.
In this series I shall blog first hand interviews, news, challenges and analysis about projects taking place in this city. In part 1 I scoured the net and ploughed through articles, press releases and other sources to compile tabled summaries of Makkah’s most prominent expansions past, present and future.
Introduction, The City of Makkah
Within the city of Makkah stands the heart and soul of Islam, the Kaaba. This majestic cube structure is draped in an exclusive heavy black and gold cloth. The gigantic mosque surrounding it and the huge skyscrapers overlooking it now dwarfs this once massive ancient ‘house of God’. These are all symbols of modernity, globalization and change this city is embracing.
In comparison to the time of the prophets or even 20 years ago present day Makkah has grown in size, changed in landscape and boasts an international diversity of Muslims who swarm to it from every corner of the Globe. Makkah has always been busy, before the advent of Islam it was an ancient trading city and now the place of pilgrimage every Muslim is obliged to visit once in their lives.
Recent reports suggest land prices in Makkah are the most expensive in the world at around $70,000 and $110,000 per sq. metre.
“These are genuinely the most exclusive real estate developments in the world, in the most sacred cities and on the most expensive land on Earth.”
Alpha1Estates International CEO
Makkah enjoys the Earth’s holiest structure, the most expensive real estate in the world, also the world’s largest religious tourist city as well. Tourism revenue in 2010 reached SR66 billion ($17.6 billion), according to the Center for Studies and Research at Asharqia Chamber. The group predicts that future revenue is expected to cross SR232 billion ($61 billion) by 2020.
Furthermore it is also the most lucrative and attractive investment city in the world enticing hotel brands such as The Fairmont, Raffles, Hilton, Intercontinental, Le Meridien, Hyatt, Movenpick etc. As well as food and restaurant giants and retailers all lining up to take their places.
Expansion Projects to the Masjid (mosque) and Makkah 632 – 2020
Click on images to enlarge
Some of the main sources of information came from the following sites: