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King & Spalding has advised on the first phase of a $27bn ($17bn) real estate development in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Dubai-based King & Spalding partner Leroy Levy led on the project financing and negotiations for the Makkah Gate Project, working alongside partner Nabil Issa and counsel Tim Tucker.
The team advised Bawabat Makkah Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Al Balad Al Ameen Company, on a suite of agreements with Sumou Real Estate Company for the development of the first phase.
A team from Baker & McKenzie’s Bahrain office advised Sumou Real Estate on the deal.
Once completed, the ambitious development will include residential areas, a government administrative district, a business district, a shopping precinct, a university, research centres, a park and a medical centre located alongside the Mecca-Jeddah highway.
Levy said: “The project is in one of the two holiest sites in Islam, and doing projects there is always a challenge, particularly taking into account the cultural sensitivities and legal challenges, especially in relation to the foreign ownership of land.”
The first phase of the project includes the construction of 2,000 residential units providing housing for around 600,000 people.