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Construction to start on Rua Al Madinah giga-project

An artist's impression of one of Rua Al Madinah's streets. The entire complex will eventually have 47,000 hotel rooms Rua Al Madinah Holding
An artist's impression of one of Rua Al Madinah's streets. The entire complex will eventually have 47,000 hotel rooms
  • Complex to open in 2026
  • $1.4bn of deals signed
  • Aims to create 93,000 jobs

Rua Al Madinah Holding, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) subsidiary in charge of the touristic and cultural development of Medina, has invited companies to bid for contracts to build 5,000 hotel rooms.

Construction of the mega mixed-use scheme is due to start soon. Rua Al Madinah expects to welcome its first guests in 2026.

“The tender is now open for the first superblock,” Ahmed Al Juhani, Rua Al Madinah Holding’s CEO, told AGBI

Three international hotel operators – Accor, Hyatt and Marriott – were selected earlier this year to manage and operate the facilities, which will encompass several of their brands, Al Juhani added.

Al Juhani said that the holding had another 7,000 rooms in the design concept stage, while the design of another 8,000 rooms will start in November.

“We have almost 20,000 rooms in different stages of design,” he said.

The developer did not specify the deadline for the tender process or when construction is likely to start.

The master plan

Located on a 1.5 million square metre site, the giga-project Rua Al Madinah was launched by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in August 2022 as one of the key initiatives towards realising Saudi’s Vision 2030.

The project is designed to elevate the cultural and historical heritage of Medina, improve quality of life for its residents and enhance the experience of Islamic pilgrims, accommodate 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030.

It will add more than 47,000 hotel rooms by the end of the decade, three quarters of which will be focused on the mid-market. 

The Rua Al Madinah projectRua Al Madinah Holding
The Rua Al Madinah project

“We introduced three-star hotels and we’re trying to define the two-star offering,” said Ahmed bin Madhi, Rua Al Madina Holding’s chief investment officer.

Almost 83,000sq m is reserved for open and green spaces, accounting for 63 percent of the site.

It will include crowd safety features and new modes of mobility and parking for easy access to the main mosque, surrounding residences and commercial spaces.

It will also focus on food and beverage and retail, as the current central area lacks a variety of offers, said Ahmed bin Madhi. The retail area will cover more than 95,000sq m.

The project will also contain an Islamic Civilisation Village, the design of which Al Juhani said was “well advanced”.

Al Juhani added that the company had signed contracts worth more than SAR5.3 billion ($1.41 billion) for tunnel work, road construction, infrastructure development and utilities.

An artist's impression of a street in Rua Al MadinahRua Al Madinah Holding
An artist’s impression of a street in Rua Al Madinah
Economic opportunities

Al Juhani emphasised that creating up to 93,000 jobs was the most important aspect of the project.

He said that Rua Al Madinah will need private investors to contribute in building and supplying services to the city and hotels.

“The project includes services such as a central laundry facility capable of handling about 500,000 kilograms of laundry per day, a catering kitchen serving around 120,000 daily meals, and staff accommodation for approximately 13,000 individuals.”

Besides the Rua Al Madinah master plan, several other major renovation projects are planned for the city, including a development by PIF company Seven.