A vast urban development project, called Masar, has been launched in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah.
The first phase of the development focuses on road projects, although it will extend into the retail, hotel, and residential sectors in the further phases.
The project is owned and developed by Umm Alqura for Development and Construction (UAQ), a closed joint-stock company whose investors comprise the Public Investment Fund (PIF), Ministry of Finance and the Public Pension Agency, among others.
King Abdulaziz Road is the core factor of Masar, with a pedestrian route that is 3,650 meters long separating the two directions of the main vehicle path. This represents “the natural enhancement of the Holy Mosque plazas without intersecting with the main route”, a statement said.
Masar also comprises other routes, such as the Bus Rapid Transit Network route and the Makkah Metro route.
Overall, it will get 80 percent of Makkah visitors as well as more than 60 percent of vehicles arriving from Jeddah.
Looking ahead, the development will see the addition of retail, commercial, cultural, and government centers, and “tens of thousands” of the hotel and residential units in Makkah, the first batch of which will be installed in 2023, the statement said.
International hotels such as Kempinski, Hilton Garden Inn and Taj will be the first projects within the development.
Masar is target at meeting the objectives of the kingdom’s plans to increase the number of Umrah pilgrims to 30 million by the year 2030 and improve the quality of life for Makkah residents and visitors.
Yasser Abuateek, CEO of UAQ said: “By exposure the identity of Masar, we are sending to one of the largest and most significant urban development projects in the region. Its importance lies in its investment and development vision, making it a modern landmark and cultural destination with various features.
The project is based on an integrated infrastructure system and it strives to increase the capacity of services on a quantitative and qualitative level, in addition to developing public and modern transport facilities and methods to develop the main western entrance of the holy capital.”