Jeddah Municipality accused of ‘obstructing skyscraper construction’

A number of real estate developers and investors have accused Jeddah Municipality

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A number of real estate developers and investors have accused Jeddah Municipality of obstructing the development of skyscrapers.

They believed such buildings were needed to boost the local economy and tourism.

The developers told Makkah daily that their requests for licenses were piling up in the municipality, delaying the issuance of land purchase and construction permits.

They said their paperwork have been going from the municipality to the notaries public and back again without any resolution.

The developers also said the lack of skilled labor, shortage of finances and the inability of construction companies to sell their units were also hurdles facing companies wishing to construct tall buildings.

They said supplying power is another difficulty facing them because the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has asked them to bear the cost of constructing electricity voltage rooms.

The investors asked all concerned authorities to cooperate with them so they could build skyscrapers that could compete with their counterparts in Europe and America.

They said this is one of the reasons why the prices of housing or commercial units are high and could reach as high as SR3 million.

“The prices of housing or commercial units in high building towers have become fabulous and only affordable to the rich,” said Abdul Moneim Murad, a realtor.

He said the Corniche alone needs about 200 skyscrapers while 50 of them can be built at the old airport area, which he believed was a good place for investment and commercial development.

“Jeddah has two seafronts. It needs comprehensive development that necessitates the construction of hundreds of high-rise towers and skyscrapers built according to international standards,” Murad said.

He noted that Jeddah is strategically located but said its commercial and tourism development is very slow.

“Horizontal expansion may help solve the existing housing problem but in the future we will need to expand vertically.”

Murad said it is hard to sell units in multistory buildings because their prices are high.

This is due to the delay of approvals at the municipality, the high cost of engineering designs, the cost of electricity and other factors, he added.

“Jeddah is a city for relaxation and rest. It needs scores of apartments along the seashore.”

Ibrahim Al-Subei, another real estate developer, believed the quick construction of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers would help solve the housing crisis in the city.

He noted some companies have built high towers consisting of more than 50 floors but their prices are exceptionally high and unaffordable to the majority of citizens.

He said: “The price of a 100 square meter flat may easily go above SR3 million. This is a fabulous price that only the very rich can afford.”

Al-Subei asked businessmen and investors to buy land along the main city roads and construct building towers that he believed would be a good investment for them in the future.

“King Abdulaziz Street, Prince Sultan Street and Sari Street will soon witness comprehensive development,” he said.

Naif Al-Qarni, a real estate investor, expected coming generations to change the current building culture and go for highrise buildings and skyscrapers.

He said investments in towers could reach the SR60 billion mark.