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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mall Of Qatar

Dubai based McARTHUR + COMPANY, an international shopping center development and leasing firm, is proud to announce that its latest project Mall of Qatar is setting new customer service standards for Qatar’s malls as the nation’s first super regional shopping center.

The mall, which is owned and developed by Mall of Qatar W.L.L in collaboration with turnkey contractors UrbaCon Trading & Contracting (UCC), is estimating, based on research conducted by T&L Associates, to attract in excess of 20 million visitors in 2016 with a steady 5% annual increase, and a 10% increase in 2022 with FIFA being hosted in Qatar.

Residents of Qatar will be the front-runners of this new age of mega-mall shopping with the highly anticipated opening of Mall of Qatar. Scheduled for the Q1 2016, providing 5-star service in the management mandate, Phil McArthur, Managing Director and Founder of McARTHUR + COMPANY said “There’s a significant demand for quality integrated shopping, dining and entertainment facilities in the retail sector in Qatar. Spend and dwell time increases dramatically in malls that provide excellent guest services including spotless public restrooms, convenience, entertainment and a wide array of dining options, all of which is among Mall of Qatar’s many advantages.”

With the increasing attraction of ecommerce, developers around the world are forced to reevaluate and revisit their strategy for malls. McArthur says, “It’s no longer simply about shopping; it’s about what a mall can offer aside from shopping. People like to see people, and you can only get that desired social experience at the mall, not online. This being said, a mall needs to be conducive for shoppers to return.”

Mall of Qatar is steering this trend of mall development by listening to their customers’ demands. The mall has been carefully designed to cater to a wide demographic and all age groups. Not only will Mall of Qatar possess one of the best live and dedicated entertainment venues in the world with different performances each evening, but will also boast an unrivaled and endless food offering. It is a truly wonderful evolution that is representative of market aspirations.

On top of this, the mall will house some of the most sought-after international brands that have not yet been glimpsed in the city before. Mall of Qatar’s bravado and aspiration to create the finest customer experience in the country has not gone amiss. The mall has already signed commitments for over 75 percent of its retail space and has a large number of eager retailers on a waiting list.

Having worked with some of the leading developers worldwide, McArthur comments “Mall of Qatar is by far the most passionate; they are true believers in excellence, quality and setting new standards. The customer comes first and this is reflected in their pace of construction, the entire flow and layout of the mall which is both functional yet beautiful, and ultimately the caliber of architects and consultants Mall of Qatar works alongside. It is a truly wonderful evolution that is representative of market aspirations.”

The rigorous team at Mall of Qatar endlessly strives to be the best in every category. Their meticulous attention to detail is unique not just in the GCC region, but also in international markets. Mall of Qatar boasts one of the world’s best infrastructures and road networks. The mall will provide the most user-friendly access and the best parking experience in Qatar, as well as being directly linked to the Doha Metro and adjacent to Al Rayyan international station.

The mall will be an entertainment district that compliments the national greater vision to attract entertainment and cultural initiatives, as well as health efforts. This is not just a mall for 2016; this is the centerpiece of a master planned community that will soon welcome neighboring residential developments, schools and the FIFA World Cup Stadium. Mall of Qatar will be humming with excitement and success.

Qatar presently may have one of the lowest penetrations of mall space per capita in the GCC at .30 meters per capita, however the nation’s major initiatives including the development of shopping malls such as the prestigious Mall of Qatar, Doha Metro, the new Hamad International Airport as well as numerous international sporting events such as FIFA, will herald in a new era for the country.

Monday, June 1, 2015

MEED Names GCC’s Projects Of The Year

Ten of the GCC’s flagship projects have been named the region’s projects of the year by the Middle East's leading supplier of business intelligence services, MEED.

Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies Building Project (entered by ASTAD Project Management) has been named as the region’s project of the year at the MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2015, in association with Mashreq. The project was also named the GCC’s UCC UrbaCon Trading & Contracting Social Infrastructure Project of the Year.

Qatar’s other regional winner was The New Doha International Airport Passenger Terminal Complex - CP 18 Project by the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee (entered by Sky Oryx Joint Venture: Taisei – TAV JV) which won the GCC’s Transport Project of the Year, sponsored by Hyder, an Arcadis Company.

John Iossifidis, Executive Vice President, Group Head – Corporate & Investment Banking, Mashreq Bank, psc., headline sponsor of the awards, praised the winners for their unwavering commitment to the highest standards of quality. “Adherence to quality standards ensures optimum delivery of a project’s intended benefits, and for this we congratulate the winners for their resolute commitment to project excellence that continues to set the benchmark not just for the region, but also for the rest of the world.”

Saudi Arabia-based projects scooped a trio of awards: the Siemens Energy Hub Project by Siemens Energy (nominated by Hyder, an Arcadis Company) was named the GCC’s Daman Industrial Project of the Year; the Jabal Omar Project Phase 1 by Jabal Omar Development Company (nominated by Schneider Electric) was named the GCC’s Building Project of the Year; and the Qurayyah Independent Power Plant Project by Hajr Electricity Production Co. was named the GCC’s Power & Water Project of the Year.

Bahrain scooped two regional awards – the GCC Oil & Gas Project of the Year for the Awali Oil Field - Tatweer Petroleum Project (nominated by New Water Corporation); and the GCC’s Ramboll Sustainable Project of the Year for the Ministry of Works’ Muharraq STP and Sewer Conveyance Project (nominated by Muharraq STP Company).

The UAE’s Emirates AquaTechnologies Caviar Factory LLC Project by Bin Salem Holding (nominated by Emirates Aqua Tech) was named winner of the GCC CH2M Award for Innovation; while Oman’s Alila Jabal Akhdar Resort Project by the Oman Tourism Development Co (OMRAN) - which was covered in my previous post - won the GCC’s Drake & Scull Leisure & Tourism Project of the Year award.

Kuwait’s Structural Renovation of the Grand Mosque Project by the Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs (nominated by PACE) was named the GCC’s Small Project of the Year.

Two special awards were also handed out during the ceremony – The MEED Editor’s Award for Leadership, given to His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA); and The MEED Editor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Project Delivery, which was presented to the Al Maryah Island Project Team, Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure.

The MEED Quality Awards for Projects 2015, in association with Mashreq, is now in its 5th year and this year was the biggest year to date. “We received a record number of entries, marking yet another successful year for the awards,’’ said Richard Thompson, Editorial Director, MEED. “The growing number of entrants is a reflection of the continuing strength of the projects sector in the region, with more projects being completed year-on-year. At the same time, the interest in the awards continues to reinforce their position as the benchmark for project excellence in this part of the world.’’

Friday, May 29, 2015

ALILA Continues Oman Expansion

Alila Hotels and Resorts announced its plans to open its second luxury resort development in Oman in Mirbat east of Salalah, a coastal town in the Dhofar governate, in southwestern Oman. The development is owned by Alil Salalah, a subsidiary of the Oman Investment Fund.

“After the successful launch of Alila Jabal Akhdar, our first luxury development outside Asia located in Oman’s Al Hajjar mountain range, we are honored to expand our collection of luxury resorts in the Middle East, particularly in the Sultanate,” comments Mark Edleson, President, Alila Hotels  & Resorts. “Salalah is another unique micro-environment in Oman with its tropical monsoons, special culture and the beautiful beaches of Mirbat. We can now offer our guests the Hajjar Mountains and Mirbat beaches in one Oman holiday. Furthermore, we look forward to deepening our relationship with the Oman Investment Fund.”

Slated to launch in the second half of 2017, Alila Salalah is envisioned as a unique ecologically sensitive luxury destination resort, comprising 100 suites, 25 villas, fine dining restaurants and a Spa Alila wellness center. The resort will distinguish itself by its contemporary Dhofari architecture. The signature Alila hospitality services, are highly personalized and tailored to its clientele’s lifestyle choices and rhythm, offering unique ways to discover the destination and engage in the local culture and traditions of the Dhofar region.

Interior design work will be overseen by internationally acclaimed BLINK Design Group to bring forth the Dhofari influence preserving the extraordinary natural beauty of the region.

Frederic Simon, Alila’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The development will be one of a kind in the region and fits perfectly with our operating ethos in the integration of commerce, conservation and culture. The destination will bring forth a community of discerning travelers that will appreciate the green environment and the exclusivity of a luxury retreat to compliment the destination. Huge emphasis will be placed on creating an ecologically friendly development to compliment and enhance the surrounding landscape and environment.”

Salalah, the second largest city in Oman, continues to develop in stature as one of the Middle East’s major destinations for international and local tourists. The increased investment and development of infrastructure that includes the new international airport and the expansion of the Port of Salalah. The project will significantly enhance the product offering and attractiveness of Dhofar and Salalah as a major tourism destination, providing additional growth opportunities to the domestic market while drawing new visitors to the Dhofar governate.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

RP Global Breaks Ground On AED 1.5 Billion RP Heights

* Holding company RP Group enters real estate market in Dubai with AED 5.5 bn (US $1.5 bn) projects through RP Global

* US $4 billion RP Group draws on its construction business expertise to bring economies of scale and superior build quality to the projects developed in Dubai

* Defined by aesthetic excellence and a superior location, RP Global unveil’s RP Heights, its first project in Downtown Dubai

* The second iconic mixed-use development project on Sheikh Zayed Road to be launched in H2 2015

RP Global - part of RP Group of Companies, a global business conglomerate with an annual turnover of over US $4 billion - broke ground on its new multi-storey residential tower project RP Heights marking its entry into the real estate market in Dubai.

RP Global will initially develop two prestigious projects in the heart of the city with a total development value of over AED 5.5 billion (US $1.5 billion). RP Heights, the first project in Downtown Dubai is a multi-storey residential tower within two minutes walking distance from The Dubai Mall. It will feature 268 luxury residences in a mix of studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments, in addition to luxurious penthouses on the upper floors.

RP One, the second project, will be an iconic mixed-use development on Sheikh Zayed Road, which will be unveiled in the second half this year. This AED 4 billion (US $1.1 billion) development is situated right behind the Business Bay Metro Station, and will feature a spectacular mixed-use tower, which will define the Dubai city skyline.

“Our expansion to real estate development complements our core competencies in construction and infrastructure projects,” said Dr. Ravi Pillai, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of RP Group of Companies. “The key differential of RP Global is our group’s ability to bring unmatched development synergies through our own construction firm, Gulf Asia Contracting. This will ensure strong economies of scale, the highest standards in construction and a firm delivery schedule. We will pass on this additional value to our customers, who will become part of truly world-class developments built to the highest standards of quality and sustainability.”

Dr Pillai added: “We are constructing RP Heights in Downtown Dubai on land owned by RP Global and using our own internal financial resources. This demonstrates our commitment to delivery and to establishing our distinct identity in Dubai’s property development sector.”

With a geographical footprint across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia, the RP Group of Companies is one of the largest employment providers in the region and has over 85,000 employees, which is set to increase to 100,000 by end-2015. The Group has executed projects worth over US $25 billion globally, and has 26 business entities in 20 cities across nine countries, with a track record in heavy civil and building works over the last 20 years.

The group has executed over 130 projects for clients including Saudi Aramco and its affiliate SATORP, SADARA Petrochemicals, YASREF, SABIC and its affiliates, Qatar Gas, Ras Gas, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Oil Refining company, Sipchem, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total Refinery, Dow Chemicals, Qatar Petroleum, Oryx GTL, Dolphin Energy and Kuwait National Petroleum.

Dr. Pillai said that the Group’s decision to expand to property development in Dubai is led by the robust growth and economic fundamentals of the city. “With the current population of over 2 million expected to grow to 3 million by 2020, and the city’s status as a business and leisure hub, the property sector of Dubai has strong growth prospects.

“The strategic growth initiatives announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has boosted international investor confidence. Today, Dubai is one of the world’s best investment destinations for property compared to Singapore or Mumbai,” Dr. Pillai explained.

“RP Global’s vision is to be one of the most innovative and trusted developers of distinctive real estate concepts globally by creating innovative lifestyle concepts distinguished by excellent design, superior build quality, timely delivery and delightful after-sales experience,” he continued.

He added that the two RP Global projects will have optimal floor area ratios, high ceilings and large balconies that add to the quality of life of residents. “We are committed to delivering the highest service standards to our customers across all touch points. Already, there is significant demand for our projects, which is a mark of investor trust in RP Group’s strong industry
credentials.”

RP Global's approach to real estate development is highlighted in its mission - ‘Live Beyond.’ Customers can look forward to a lifestyle that is beyond what any other developer may offer and well beyond their expectations. “RP Global projects will uphold high standards in sustainability with a focus on promoting energy use efficiency. It will also draw on the latest in technologies including high-speed connectivity to reflect the Smart Dubai vision,” said Dr. Pillai.

RP Group of Companies has a strong presence in six high-growth sectors including property development, construction & infrastructure development, education, healthcare, hospitality and trading. Their areas of expertise include oil and gas, petrochemicals, ferrous and non-ferrous plants, heavy industrial buildings, highrise buildings and infrastructure facilities. With a presence of over 40 years in the GCC region, it is also further scaling up its hospitality business in the UAE with two new hotels in Dubai Marina and Bur Dubai.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Farglory Group's Maryah Plaza Development, Abu Dhabi

Farglory Group, one of the largest real estate developers in Asia, is preparing to release more ultra-prime units in its luxury development Maryah Plaza. The much-awaited event is in anticipation of demand in the second half of 2015 and will cater to investor and end-user preferences.

“Maryah Plaza’s initial launch was well received by domestic and international buyers. We have been listening closely to the market and have accommodated our unit designs to satisfy growing demand,” said Jack Hu, managing director of Farglory Middle East.

Maryah Plaza, located in Al Maryah Island’s new financial free zone, is the product of world-famous architect Lord Richard Rogers who is known for designing projects across the world such as London’s One Hyde Park and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Maryah Plaza represents the architect’s first-ever project in the Middle East.

“We envisioned Maryah Plaza as a new emerging global icon and a benchmark for luxury,” said Hu. “That’s why we commissioned Lord Richard Rogers, one of the world’s greatest architects. Together we are building a new architectural landmark that will help to shape Abu Dhabi’s skyline on Al Maryah Island.”

Stationed at the waterfront, Maryah Plaza is a mixed-use development consisting of four steel towers. The largest tower will house offices, serviced apartments, and a boutique hotel. At ground level there will be restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Amenities include a clubhouse, zero-edge infinity pool, spa, gymnasium, and an outdoor art gallery with manicured green space.

“With the current positive growth outlook for Farglory in all its key markets, we are committed to fulfilling the market’s appetite for ultra-high-end property in the UAE’s capital city and exploring opportunities to match demand,” Hu said.

A silver sponsor at this year’s Cityscape Abu Dhabi, Farglory Group is a Taiwanese conglomerate established in 1969 with a portfolio of over 15 billion dollars. Farglory Group has completed over 700 projects across the world including China, the United States, Western Europe, and the Far East.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ajman Mega Project Al Zorah Going Strong

* Premier lifestyle project by Solidere International begins to take shape as phase one of the development comes to life

* Contract for final stage of infrastructure works valued at AED 115 million awarded

Ajman’s premier waterfront and organically connected lifestyle development project, Al Zorah has invested over AED 500 million in infrastructure, with the awarding of an AED 115 million contract for the final stage of Phase 1 infrastructure works. With the initial stages of infrastructure development already completed, the new contract to AIMS Group covers the rest of the road and utility networks to support all Phase one components of the premiere destination. The work is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.

Located along the breathtaking natural peninsula on the coastline of Ajman, the flagship project of Al Zorah Development Company is spread over an area of 5.4 million sqm. Set apart from other destinations by its exotic setting of natural mangroves and seafront, Al Zorah blends the best of nature with the finest in modern amenities to create refined places for life. A freehold development encompassing 12 kms of waterfront, 1.6 kms of sandy beaches and a 700,000 sqm golf course, Al Zorah is slowly rising up from the ground to create unprecedented communal living at its best.

The first phase of the AED 2 billion development will welcome its first residents later this year. The key components that will provide a refreshing and vibrant lifestyle for residents and visitors include: a Beach Resort operated by Oberoi, a Beach Resort operated by Lux, an 18-hole Golf Course by Nicklaus Design, 42 premium residential villas on the golf course, serviced residential apartments, and The Pavilion, Al Zorah’s sales center.

The Phase 1 infrastructure works included the design, earthworks, work on four marinas that can accommodate over 200 boats, the 18-hole championship golf course, highway linking Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road to Al Zorah, the entire road and utility network, bridge, and water edge protection across 3.5 km of waterfront.

Imad Dana, Chief Executive Officer of Al Zorah Development Company, said: “The foundations of the success of any property development project spread over such a large area like Al Zorah, is dependent on the connectivity of its individual components.

“We are committed to the comforts of our future residents right from the start and we are ensuring that the entire project is geared to provide a holistic lifestyle from day one when people move in. Al Zorah is all about creating that special value for our investors and we can see that vision coming to life already.”

The development is all set to energize Ajman bringing in a truly world-class lifestyle destination that will enhance the Emirate’s competitiveness and development.

++About Al Zorah Development Company:

The Al Zorah Development (Private) Company P.S.C marks the partnership between the Government of Ajman and Solidere International and is a Free Zone Company under the laws of Ajman, UAE. The company’s aim is to develop Al Zorah as a distinctive tourist and lifestyle destination.

++About Solidere International:

Solidere International (SI) is a master developer, a real estate developer, a development manager and a property manager. SI is a limited company registered in Dubai International Financial Center. Solidere sal of Lebanon is its founding shareholder. The Company’s shareholders include individual and institutional investors from the Middle East, Europe as well as international funds. SI draws on the extensive and mature expertise of Solidere sal to develop unique quality and professionally managed projects covering a broad array of properties from mixed-use communities to individual building in select markets, known as ‘Places for Life.’ Solidere International’s in-house expertise covers the full development value chain of property development from business planning, master planning, financing, construction management, marketing, sales and property management services. Solidere International is rapidly growing to become a premier regional and international property developer and development manager. The company is currently active in developing its own residential and mixed-use projects in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and strengthening its presence in promising international markets.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mega Project Launched To Regenerate Old Medina of Casablanca, Morocco

* Wessal Capital, the investment fund with a unique SWF shareholding structure supports second stage of Casablanca re-development

* Growing investor confidence in Moroccan tourism market helps Wessal Capital, the investment arm overseeing the Wessal Casa-Port project, to secure additional €28 million of funding to support development

* Old Medina project builds on rich cultural heritage to reclaim Casablanca’s status as premier cultural, business and tourism destination

* The regeneration of the Old Medina is a response to local residents’ desire to improve their neighborhood and boost local economy

Morocco has begun the €28 million regeneration of the historic Old Medina of Casablanca, a vital part of the city’s history and one of its most appealing tourist attractions. The project is part of Wessal Capital’s €530 million Casa-Port project, which will transform Casablanca’s harbor and port area and help restore the city once known as the jewel of Morocco.

The restoration of the Old Medina is the second phase of the Casa-Port project, with work on the port redevelopment starting last week. When completed, Wessal Casa-Port will offer world-class tourism infrastructure, including the development of the city’s first marina, an upgraded port and new commercial and cultural spaces. The public-private partnership is due for completion in five years.

The historic Old Medina is one of Morocco’s most important cultural sites and the country’s largest medina, dating to the sixth century. It has been a focus for Casablanca’s commercial and civic life for centuries, including currently hosting seven mosques, three synagogues and a church – a testament to Morocco’s religious openness and sense of tolerance. The regeneration works include creating a 3.7 km tourist pathway winding through the medina and connecting with the new cruise ship terminal, going through all the major heritage buildings combining tradition and modernity in a way that inspires visitors and the people of Morocco.

Tourism is the second largest contributor to Morocco's GDP and is also the second biggest job creator, playing a vital role in the country’s overall economy. In 2013, tourist arrivals exceeded 10 million for the first time. However, Casablanca is often overlooked as a tourist attraction by visitors who instead prioritize travel to other parts of the country, such as Marrakech and Fes. Enhancing the appeal of the medina, which has long been the heart of the city, together with the coastline district, will help reposition Casablanca as a major destination for cultural, business and cruise tourism.

Morocco projects the investment in Wessal Casa-Port will help revitalize the economy, generating employment in a thriving tourism sector. The project is anticipated to double employment in the area and triple employment in areas indirectly linked to the project. Already 2000 jobs have been created in the construction phase alone, with 6000 more planned.

The project reflects His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s personal interest in the social and economic development of Casablanca, as well as the improvement of the standard of living of the city’s inhabitants.

The rehabilitation aligns with Morocco’s wider cultural, socio-economic and urban development strategy, which is improving living conditions, creating job opportunities, upgrading the city’s buildings and preserving Casablanca’s historical and cultural legacy.

This project in particular will support the aspirations of Casablanca’s youth. It has been designed to help them access new economic, social and cultural opportunities which support their own well-being and Morocco’s continued growth. Part of the rehabilitation program launched by the King includes setting up “work re-insertion centers”, especially focused on women and youth, to help some of the inhabitants acquire working skills and take advantage of the local job opportunities created by the vast infrastructure developments underway nearby. Another initiative is working to improve the marketing of handicraft products produced by the artisans of the medina.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kuwait's Tamdeen Group To Go Ahead With US$700 Million Al Khiran Development

> 75,000-sqm high end ‘Outlet Mall’ with state-of-the-art entertainment and F&B components to showcase the project

> Resort style apartment living adjacent to a 5-star hotel with an international spa

Tamdeen Group – Kuwait’s leading mixed-use property developer that is reshaping the urban and social landscape of the country through innovative projects – has announced the multi-million dollar Al Khiran development which will be at the heart of the Sabah Al Ahmed Sea City.

Valued at US$700 million, the resort-style project which will be spread across 350,000-sqm of water-front, will eventually create significant opportunities for Kuwait’s tourism and business growth. A one-of-a-kind development, the project will include Kuwait’s first high-end Outlet Mall, two high-rise residential towers, one furnished apartments tower, a marina to house over 900 boats – the biggest in Kuwait - and a 5-star resort style hotel with an international spa component.

Launching the project, Mohammed Jassim Khalid Al Marzouq, Chairman of Tamdeen Group said: “We believe in Kuwait, in its economic future and its excellent legal systems. The new found cooperation between the Government and Parliament has given us even more confidence to invest further in Kuwait. Today we have projects worth US$2 billion in the pipeline.

“Kuwait is recognized as a country that has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes estimated at US$48,260, which means the country is well-placed to drive growth across different retail segments. It also remains one of the most underserviced markets in the GCC in terms of quality retail space.

“Kuwait’s economy is among the strongest in the region and in a country where 45 percent of the population is in the 20-39 years age range, household spending on international brands within the retail sector is on the rise. This is where Al Khiran will offer value not just in terms of shopping but an overall customer experience.”

The Tamdeen Group has been developing significant shopping center and mixed-use properties over the last two decades. The Group has built the iconic 360 MALL and the Al Kout waterfront project, both of which have become important symbols of Kuwait. Their unique architecture makes them one-of-a-kind destinations offering an unmatched shopping experience for their discerning customers. Al Khiran will add to that offering in its own unique way.

“We also believe that Kuwait has huge untapped potential for ‘conservative tourism’ and this project will attract people from our three large neighbors creating a new destination,” added Al Marzouq.

The 75,000-sqm luxury Outlet Mall within Al Khiran will have the finest mix of luxury and premium brands. The entire mall will have an outdoor ambiance with indoor streets covered by continuous skylights to provide natural light.

Designed by leading international architects RTKL, the mall will have a unique resort-style architecture which will incorporate traditional Arabic motifs. The mall’s fa├žade will add to its identity providing a highly sustainable solution which filters light and provides shade. A continuous covered arcade will showcase the retail elements and provide comfortable seating for various restaurants.

A lot of thought and input has gone into landscaping design for the entire project which in itself will be an attraction for tourists and residents alike. A massive promenade covered with palms will create the pedestrian space between the mall and the marina. Celebrated landscape architects PWP from the USA have worked hard to create the landscape link for the entire project while providing terraced seating options for customers’ dining pleasure.

The most iconic landform will be at the center of the development. The Al Khiran Park with its rich and varied vegetation will include a variety of open air attractions for children as well as huge performance spaces. This in itself will create a powerful magnet for all of Kuwait.

Al Khiran will become the entertainment and commercial cornerstone of the new community at Sabah Al Ahmed Sea City and surrounding areas of over 200,000 people. The residences will provide a resort-style home-away-from-home for the discerning Kuwaiti with access to some of the finest leisure facilities, private swimming pools and a ‘beach front’. A 5-star hotel with an international spa will attract both Kuwaiti residents and tourists alike.

Al Marzouq further explained: “Tamdeen Group companies have been known to deliver high-end, world-class quality projects that rival the very best in the world. Kuwait has been witnessing a 6.6 percent average rise in tourism and increasing demand for luxury products and services. Projects like Al Khiran fulfil that national expectation and Tamdeen Group is honored to be a catalyst to the country’s overall economic, retail and tourism growth.”

Today, the Tamdeen Group of Companies has a combined paid up capital of US$1.35 billion with close to US$4 billion in assets, making the group one of Kuwait’s most significant private-sector players.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Completed GCC Construction Projects For 2014 Come In At Total Value $67.6 Billion

* Residential (US$28bn), Commercial (US$11.46bn) and Education (US$7.13bn) were the leading sectors

* Initial market indicators suggest sustained growth in 2015 with an estimated 21% increase in construction projects awarded across the GCC

* GCC interiors and fit-out market to remain buoyant with a forecasted 9% increase in value in 2015

DMG Events has announced the results of a commissioned study conducted by Ventures ME which revealed that construction projects across all building sectors worth US$67.6bn were completed in the GCC in 2014. The research also looked into 2015 and estimates projects for US$72bn (+6.5%) to be completed and US$103bn (+21.2%) to be awarded across the year. This is the fourth consecutive year that DMG Events, the company behind INDEX - the leading MENA Design Exhibition - has invested in the study, contributing to the global industry with useful regional market insights.

Overview of 2014 GCC Building Construction Projects:

2014 was another strong year for the construction market with residential (41.5%), commercial (16.97%) and educational (10.6%) segments representing the highest market shares. US$67.56bn worth of projects were completed with a further US$85bn worth of projects awarded. Hospitality, medical and retail buildings were also completed – with total values of US$4.4bn, US$3.72bn and US$854mn respectively. The top markets across all sectors bar retail were KSA and the UAE, with Qatar ranking top with completed retail projects worth US$362mn.

Overview of 2014 GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market:

The value of the GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market in 2014 was US$7.35bn – with KSA and the UAE showing the highest market share within the industry. KSA was the highest ranking market with a 43 percent share (US$3.4bn) followed by the UAE valued at US$2.3bn and representing a 31 percent market share.

For the second year running the residential sector accounted for almost half of the overall 2014 market with a market share of 41.95 percent (US$3.09bn). The commercial sector followed with a 17.15 percent share corresponding to a value of US$1.26bn and the hospitality sector with 13.51 percent share and a value of US$993mn – largely unchanged when compared to 2013.

2015 Forecast:

Looking ahead to 2015 projects, the Ventures ME Report highlighted that figures across both the building construction and interiors markets are both set to increase further.

US$72bn worth of completed projects and US$103bn worth of awarded projects are forecasted over the next 12 months; the interiors market is also likely to grow by 9 percent.

The Healthcare Sector is expected to grow by 91.12 percent from a value of US$3.72bn registered in 2014, to an estimated value of US$7.11bn for 2015. Qatar in particular will be the country with the majority of healthcare buildings completed worth a total value of US$2.43bn -followed by KSA with US$2.15bn and the UAE US$1.82bn.

Despite the huge increase in the Healthcare Sector, the building construction market will still be led by the residential and commercial sectors that together will account for over half of the market share concentrated particularly in KSA, the UAE and Qatar.

Interior Fit-out Market:

Out of an overall estimated market value of US$7.35bn, the Residential Sector will account for 41.95 percent and US$3.09bn in value, followed by the Commercial Sector at 17.15 percent and US$1.26bn of value and the Hospitality Sector with 13.51 percent and US$99mn in value.

When compared to 2014 figures, the Healthcare Sector will see the biggest growth with a huge 91.6 percent increase and reaching a value of US$569m. The Education Sector is expected to see the biggest drop in value by -13.72 percent from US$571m to US$492m.

Commenting on the figures released by Ventures ME, Frederique Maurell, Group Event Director for INDEX and workspace at INDEX, said: “2013 was a strong year for the GCC Building Construction market with almost all sectors showing significant growth. For 2014 we’ve seen continued growth with KSA, the UAE and Qatar doing particularly well. Looking ahead to 2015 the forecast for both awarded and completed projects shows further increases again with particularly exciting times ahead for the Residential and Commercial Sectors.” 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gigantic Dubai Mall Beats All Records!

The Dubai Mall is ‘the Center of World Retail’ welcoming a record 80 million visitors in 2014

* Surpassing visitor arrivals at global airports and major tourist destinations, The Dubai Mall is the world’s most visited retail and lifestyle destination for fourth consecutive year

* One of the world’s Top 10 geo-tagged locations by Instagram, The Dubai Mall also leads in social media engagement globally

* Retailers record 14% growth in sales in 2014 compared to previous year; total tenant sales accounts for about 5% of Dubai’s GDP

Surpassing annual footfall figures achieved by the world’s most popular tourist destinations and key international airports, The Dubai Mall is once again the ‘world’s most-visited lifestyle destination’ welcoming over 80 million visitors in 2014.

For the fourth consecutive year, the flagship mall asset of Emaar Malls continues to appeal to global visitors and retail enthusiasts as a must-visit destination with its world class lifestyle, retail and entertainment offering.

Mohamad Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Malls, said: “This is another historic milestone for Dubai, with a record 80 million visitors to The Dubai Mall in 2014. No other global tourist destination or even airports, which traditionally have the highest footfall, have achieved the significant visitor arrivals The Dubai Mall recorded.

“With wholesale and retail accounting for nearly 30 percent of Dubai’s real GDP, The Dubai Mall continues to make a sterling contribution to our city’s diversified economic growth, as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.”

The visitor numbers recorded in the mall were higher than footfall figures provided in 2014 by Business Insider for Times Square, New York City at 39.2 million; Niagara Falls at 22.5 million; Central Park New York at 37.5 million; Union Station, Washington DC at 32.85 million; Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom Orlando at 17.5 million and Eiffel Tower in Paris at 7 million, among others.

The contribution of The Dubai Mall to the city’s retail sector is significant, and is estimated to account for about 5 percent of Dubai’s GDP. Tenant sales recorded across the mall’s 1,200 plus retail stores and 200 F&B outlets at the mall, cumulatively grew by 14 percent in 2014, with growth seen across categories including fashion, luxury jewelry, footwear, sports and recreation, health and beauty, entertainment and food.

The popularity of the mall as the must-visit destination was further highlighted by the strong social media engagement of The Dubai Mall from people around the world. One of the Top 10 geo-tagged locations globally on Instagram (@thedubaimall), the mall also has over 1.5 million fans on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheDubaiMall), the highest for any shopping mall destination in the world.

The Dubai Mall also leads in social engagement over Twitter (@TheDubaiMall) with over 250,000 followers. The Twitter feed of the mall has the most audience in the UAE, which is 80 percent more than the second most popular Twitter handle from the UAE. It is also the fastest growing profile in the country.

Nasser Rafi, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Malls, said: “We are proud to have welcomed 80 million visitors to The Dubai Mall, who enjoy our best in class retail, entertainment and leisure offers. We are committed to creating memorable experiences for our customers not only within the mall environment, but also to be engaging and connecting with people around the world on our social platforms.

“While we set records in visitor arrivals and social media engagement in 2014, we are now looking to take the mall experience to beyond the extraordinary with the expansion of our Fashion Avenue by adding another 1 million sqft (built up area) and a further 150 high-end and luxury international brands. Our vision is to deliver an unmatched experience for our visitors.”

As a world leader in family-leisure and entertainment, The Dubai Mall’s attractions also include SEGA Republic, the largest indoor theme park of its kind; KidZania®, the dedicated children’s city; Dubai Ice Rink, an Olympic sized ice rink; and the 22-screen Reel Cinemas that can seat over 2,800 people. The mall also serves as the gateway to At The Top, Burj Khalifa SKY, the world’s tallest observatory deck.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nakheel Unveils Al Khail Avenue

Nakheel is set to launch 1.5 million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment space at Al Khail Avenue, the latest project in the company’s growing retail portfolio.

Located at Nakheel’s Jumeirah Village Triangle community, alongside Dubai’s Al Khail Road, the mall will have 350 shops including a supermarket, department stores and specialty outlets, a multi-screen cinema, entertainment zone and a diverse range of cafes and restaurants including al fresco dining.

Al Khail Avenue, first announced during design stage in August 2014, will be a new destination for visitors and residents across Dubai, and a convenient, on-the-doorstep shopping and leisure hub for the tens of thousands of people living at Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park and other nearby areas.  Nakheel expects to issue a construction tender in Q1 2015, with project completion anticipated in 2018.

Al Khail Avenue – named after its strategic location by one of Dubai’s busiest highways, Al Khail Road – will feature a modern geometric design and a central glass atrium letting in plenty of natural light.  The mall’s diverse range of shops will be complemented by a wide selection of dining options, including a number of outdoor restaurants on a first floor promenade.  There will also be a five-level car park for more than 4,400 vehicles.

Al Khail Avenue is the latest project in Nakheel’s growing portfolio of retail developments.  The company has almost seven million square feet of leasable area in the pipeline, with malls underway at Palm Jumeirah, Deira Islands, Jumeirah Village Circle and Triangle; souks at Deira Islands and Warsan Village; major extensions to Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta; and neighborhood retail centers – the first two of which opened last year – at several communities across Dubai.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Richest Arabs 2014

Every year ArabianBusiness.com publishes their list of the World's Richest Arabs. They do a great job of finding the Arab Billionaires. Most of the Billionaires on the list are involved either directly or indirectly with the Mega Projects of the Middle East. For example, number one on the list, Prince Alwaleed, is building Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia which will be the tallest tower in the world when completed. And number twenty two on the list, Hussain Sajwani, is the Chairman of Damac Properties of Dubai.

Here is the complete World's Richest Arabs 2014 List followed by a link to ArabianBusiness.com where you can find a more detailed version of the list.

1. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Saudi Arabia, 28.1bn

2. Olayan family, Saudi Arabia, 12.5bn

3. Joseph Safra, Brazil/Lebanon, 11.9bn

4. Sawiris family, Egypt, 11.3bn

5. Issam Al Zahid, Saudi Arabia, 11.2bn

6. Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, Saudi Arabia, 9.2bn

7. Mohammed Al Amoudi, Saudi Arabia, 9bn

8. Binladin family, Saudi Arabia, 8.4bn

9. Kharafi family, Kuwait, 8.3bn

10. Majid Al Futtaim, UAE, 7.9bn

11. Al Ghurair family, UAE, 7bn

12. Bukhamseen family, Kuwait, 6.4bn

13. Tareq Al Qahtani, Saudi Arabia, 6.2bn

14. Kanoo family, Bahrain, 6bn

15. Toufic Aboukhater, Monaco/Palestine, 5.6bn

16. Bugshan family, Kuwait, 5.5bn

17. Mansour family, Egypt, 5.4bn

18. Mohammed Jameel, Saudi Arabia, 5.3bn

19. Abdullah Al Rushaid, Saudi Arabia, 5.1bn

20. Al Rajhi family, Saudi Arabia, 4.3bn

21. Mubarak Al Suweiket, Saudi Arabia, 4.3bn

22. Hussain Sajwani, UAE, 4bn

23. Al Muhaidib Family, Saudi Arabia, 3.5bn

24. Gargash family, UAE, 3.5bn

25. Alghanim family, Kuwait, 3.4bn

26. Adel Aujan, Saudi Arabia, 3.3bn

27. Taha Mikati, Lebanon, 3.2bn

28. Najib Mikati, Lebanon, 3.2bn

29. Mohammed Al Issa, Saudi Arabia, 3.15bn

30. Mohammed Jamjoom, Saudi Arabia, 3.1bn

31. Abdulatif Al Fozan, Saudi Arabia, 3.05bn

32. Issad Rebrab, Algeria, 3bn

33. Hayek Family, Switzerland/Lebanon, 2.9bn

34. Bahaa Hariri, Switzerland/Saudi Arabia, 2.8bn

35. Saad Hariri, Lebanon, 2.7bn

36. Ziad Manasir, Russia/Jordan, 2.6bn

37. Mohammed Elkhereiji, Switzerland/Saudi Arabia, 2.55bn

38. Osama Abudawood, Saudi Arabia, 2.51bn

39. Abdullah Al Futtaim, UAE, 2.5bn

40. Mansour Ojjeh, France/SaudiArabia, 2.45bn

41. Othman Benjelloun, Morocco, 2.4bn

42. Ayman Asfari, UK/Syria, 2.35bn

43. Mohammed Ibrahim, UK/Sudan, 2.2bn

44. Mohammed Al Barwani, Oman, 2bn

45. Nadhmi Auchi, UK/Iraq, 1.9bn

46. Saleh Kamel, Saudi Arabia, 1.85bn

47. Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, UAE/Jordan, 1.8bn

48. Mohammed Al Fayed, UK/Egypt, 1.7bn

49. Abdullah Al Rabiah, Saudi Arabia, 1.65bn

50. Anas Sefrioui, Morocco, 1.5bn 

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/the-world-richest-arabs-2014-574217.html

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

GCC's Top Mega Projects Will Be?

The hunt is on to find the Gulf’s Project Of The Year. Currently some $2.7 Trillion worth of projects are planned or underway in the GCC, laying the foundations for the long-term, sustainable development of the region that will support the ambitions of the Gulf’s future generations. MEED(Middle East Economic Digest) aims to support these ambitions by recognizing and celebrating the best achievements of the region’s projects industry through its annual MEED Quality Awards for Projects, run in association with Mashreq.

Now in its fifth year, the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, in association with Mashreq, has established itself as the leading stamp of quality and achievement for companies operating in the GCC projects sector.

Previous winners of the coveted MEED Quality Project of the Year include the Burj Khalifa (UAE, 2011), Pearl GTL project (Qatar, 2012), Concourse A – Dubai International Airport (UAE, 2013), and Bahrain Petroleum Company’s (BAPCO) Install Refinery Wastewater Treatment Plant Project (Bahrain, 2014).

“The awards not only recognize the construction element of project delivery but also consider the value and quality of a project throughout its entire life cycle, from the design concept through to engineering and construction and its wider contribution to society and to the environment,” said Richard Thompson, Editorial Director, MEED.

Central to the success of the awards has been the authority provided by the core values of integrity, trust and transparency associated with MEED.

The judging process evaluates and recognizes the key organizations behind successful project completion across the GCC – including contractors, engineers, architects, consultants, developers and project owners. “We are delighted to partner with MEED for the third year to recognize the highest quality projects in the region,” said Julio Armando de Quesada, Group Head – Corporate Banking, Mashreq.

Last year, UAE-based projects won the most number of regional awards with four, including the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) Integrated Gas Development Project, nominated by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO), winning Industrial Project of the Year; and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park Phase 1 Project, nominated by First Solar, taking home the Power Project of the Year trophy.

This trend of success for UAE projects is expected to continue as the amount of work in the Emirates increases. In the first 10 months of the year, 961 projects totaling $46.7bn, have been awarded in the UAE, making it the largest projects market in the Middle East, according to MEED Projects.

Notable projects completed this year and eligible for entry into the awards include: Takreer’s new $10bn 400,000 b/d refinery at Ruwais; Mubadala’s $1.5bn Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi; the $550m Yas Mall by Aldar on Yas Island; and the $460m JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia emerged triumphant with three regional awards, including the King Fahad National Library Project, nominated by Saudi Binladin Group & Gerber Architekten, which scooped the 2014 Social Project of the Year award; while the National Water Company’s Riyadh Water Supply Project won in the 2014 Water & Water Reuse Project of the Year category. MARS Inc.’s MARS Chocolate Factory Project, nominated by Hyder Consulting Middle East Ltd, won the 2014 Small Project of the Year award.

In 2014, the Kingdom is expected to award nearly $44bn worth of projects, owing in large part to the Riyadh Metro project. That project, valued at about $22.5bn, accounted for one quarter of the GCC’s total projects contract awards and about one half of Saudi Arabia’s total.

Qatar’s Baytna - Qatar's First Passivhaus Project, jointly owned by Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), Barwa Real Estate Group (BRE) and Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa), and nominated by ETA Star Engineering & Contracting, received the 2014 Award for Innovation.

For Qatar’s project market, the outlook from now to 2020 is extremely strong. Although much of this has been attributed to its successful bid to stage the FIFA 2022 football World Cup, the reality is that the projects planned and underway are more about meeting the country’s National Vision 2030 than hosting the international sporting event. The combination of these two drivers leads to an active projects market estimated by regional projects tracker MEED Projects to be worth $285bn.

Significant investments have gone into Qatar’s transportation and shipping infrastructure, including the construction of the New Doha International Airport [now Hamad International], the New Doha Port and several Megacities such as Lusail and Msheireb. Additionally, the railway network project, estimated at $35bn, entails plans to extend shipping railways by 325 kilometers, and to connect Qatar’s rail networks to those of the other GCC countries.

While this year is set to be the most active for oil and gas contractors in Oman, 2015 will see several large schemes move ahead. With an estimated $2.4bn of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deals awarded in the year to date, 2014 has been the most active year for projects in Oman since 2006. The most important project in Oman is the $16bn Khazzan tight gas project being carried out by UK oil major BP. The government is planning to develop infrastructure across the Sultanate and also bolster Oman’s status as a luxury destination with several five-star hotel projects underway. The number of hotels rose from 224 to 282 in the five years to 2013, increasing the number of rooms by 37 percent. In 2013 the value added to the economy by the tourism sector increased by 45 percent to RO709m ($1.8bn) and the government is aiming to increase this further and welcome 4 million tourists by 2015.

In Bahrain, the government is embarking on a major capital spending program that includes transport projects, investment in utilities, the construction of low-cost housing, and a series of energy schemes intended to generate income for the country. GDP growth is forecast to be a healthy 3.5-4 percent this year, led by expansion in the non-oil sector.

The Avenues Project owned by the Mabanee Company, was awarded the 2013 GCC Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year. This year, the country is expected to compete strongly as the projects market has $3.7bn-worth of new orders placed so far in 2014, mostly in the transport and social infrastructure sectors. It has been a steady 2014 for contractors as work continues on existing projects and new work is awarded on major schemes. For existing work, there are currently $19bn of contracts in the execution phase, with just over $3bn set for completion this year.

The awards program will recognize projects completed between January 2013 and December 2014 across several categories, including Oil and Gas Project of the Year, Industrial Project of the Year, Power and Water Project of the Year, Leisure and Tourism Project of the Year, Transport Project of the Year, Social Infrastructure Project of the Year, Building Project of the Year, Sustainable Project of the Year, Award for Innovation and Small Project of the Year.

The deadline for submission of projects has been set for December 17, 2014. Winners will be announced at the MEED Construction Leadership Summit taking place in May 26-27, 2015. The Summit is a high-end meeting place for the Gulf’s construction leaders and provides a much needed platform to promote open dialog between the leading contractors, consultants and clients that examines the strategic direction of the region’s construction industry, the challenges threatening it’s performance and those leading it’s change.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Indigo Properties 10 Tips For Buying A Villa In Dubai

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, offering a comfortable living experience of a high quality. Constantly soaring to new heights and offering a plethora of options in all aspects from housing and education, to recreation and dining, Dubai is undoubtedly the finest place to make home. There is plenty of choice of accommodation in Dubai but villa community living is definitely a preference, offering space, privacy and comfort. Although, once you make up your mind to buy a villa, it is easy to get lost in the multitude of factors that must be considered. One of UAE’s premier property developers, Indigo Properties, helps make this process much easier by outlining 10 important features to consider when buying a villa in Dubai.

1. Location and Neighborhood

Location is key, as it will remain constant until the end of time. Consider the proximity of public transportation such as the Dubai Metro. Perhaps a Tram station is in walking distance? If you have children, research the closest nursery’s and schools. If you’re a newly married couple do the same, as a home is permanent and long-term factors should be taken into consideration. Locate the closest supermarket, pharmacy, clinic, shopping center, petrol station and all other amenities that you will require. Ideally a villa community should have its own retail center having a large spectrum of outlets. Self-contained living communities make for an ideal home. Study the neighborhood: income levels and age distribution. If it’s an off-plan development, the reputation of the developer, property prices and the quality of construction should give you a considerable idea.

2. Credentials of Developer

What is the quality of the developers’ previous projects? Do they deliver excellence? Do they meet or surpass what they have promised? Based on personal or friends’ past experiences, are they trustworthy? What is their track record for after-sale care and maintenance? A genuine property developer won’t just sell you a property and end the relationship there; they’ll cater to your needs and ensure that your decision is best for you. Do some first-hand research; attain referrals for passionate, sincere developers with quality projects.

3. Quality of Property/Construction

What sets apart a genuine property developer from others is the quality of the property offered. While some properties come as shell and core units, others, for the same price per square foot, offer wall fittings, marble flooring, state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, smart home systems and more, with the developers absorbing extra costs for your benefit. These developers work with the very best partners at every stage, from engineers to architects, from master developers to contractors, ensuring the best quality of design and construction, and develop to deliver outstanding properties, reducing any potential problems that may exist such as structural issues and damage. A high quality, well-structured property will surely prevent you from facing major expenses.

4. Size

Most people when looking for a house do not factor in the long term and how demands might change. You might be a young couple and hence you need little space, however, in a few years you might have a couple of little ones to take care of, relatives visiting often or parents living with you. Factor these possibilities in and look for a place with a minimum of three or four bedrooms. Always look for a property with all ensuite bedrooms. Large, spacious townhouses or villas contribute to a more comfortable living. Enormous windows allowing bright sunlight to flood in would accentuate the spaciousness of the rooms.

5. View

It would be hard to enjoy your morning coffee on a weekend, gazing through the window at power lines or at the fish market. Imagine instead looking out at a fresh stream of flowing water while listening to birds chirping perched on nearby trees. Imagine gazing out your window at the twinkling lights and magnificent skyline of this remarkably beautiful city as you savor your candlelit dinner. Although the view may not seem as most important, a view of water and greenery adds some sparks and wonder to one’s daily routine and melts the stress away.

6. Service Charges

Recurring monthly or yearly costs must be taken into consideration, including electricity and service charges. Keep in mind that certain reoccurring expenses will take place post-purchase for maintaining the community. Set some cash aside for these minor expenses. Contrary to popular belief, villas’ service charges are usually much lower on a per square foot basis than apartments.

7. Maintenance Standards

When contemplating buying the right house, ensure that the villa complex uses a reputable maintenance agency. Imagine how tedious it would be trying to find a suitable maintenance person to come fix a faucet that decided to burst at 5am. Find out about their availability and clean services provided; how often and well are community areas cleaned? More importantly, ensure that your safety is a priority – find out if smart home technology is offered in villas and townhouses, and what security systems are in place in apartment buildings. How much is being done to keep your community living safe and clean?

8. Amenities Available

Is the community self-contained? Does the building offer basic amenities? Having to drive 20 minutes to go to the gym each day would be quite a demotivating factor. How much easier would it be if all gym facilities, perhaps even group classes and personal trainers, were available just a street away? Get a thorough understanding of all amenities available. Is it a safely guarded gated community for children to play in? Are children’s playgrounds available? Is there a shared gym and swimming pool? These are just some amenities to consider, your list of desired amenities depends on what factors are important to you.

9. Garden Space

If you have young kids, you do not want them cooped up in a room. Lush landscaping or garden spaces allow children to run about in the fresh air and be close to nature. As for you, what is a better way to spend a weekend than to be lazing in the tranquility of your garden, reading a good book?

10. Re-sale Value

While buying a new home is a lifestyle change and usually more permanent, you may make different decisions in the future such as taking on a new job in another country or shifting elsewhere – a home with more bedrooms, a newer location. You may not wish to keep your property due to requiring finances to make the change, so upon purchase of a property it is helpful to consider what the re-sale value would be after a specific time period.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Khayyat Contracting And Trading Sees Qatar Infrastructure Spending Reaching $200 Billion Over Next Decade

A leading contractor based in Doha sees total infrastructure investments in Qatar breaching the $200bn mark in the next 10 years.

Mohamad Moataz Al Khayyat, CEO, Al Khayyat Contracting and Trading, a leading international design and build company with its main headquarters in Doha, says state spending alone has been estimated to reach $160bn. He believes, however, that additional investments will pour in from the private sector to complement what the government is doing to boost infrastructure development in the country.

"Preparations for the World Cup, though a government driven activity, will also see external investments being made outside state funding to cash in on the windfall expected from staging the world's biggest sporting event. The retail industry will open up, as will the F&B sector. Tourism and hospitality will see further activity, beyond what the government is planning," said Al Khayyat.

The infrastructure spending is expected to boost Qatar’s non-oil economy, which EFG-Hermes predicts will expand by as much as 16 percent a year from next year until 2018.

The latest Arcadis Global Infrastructure Investment Spending Index already ranks Qatar as the second most attractive infrastructure investment destination in the world, behind only Singapore. "In the Gulf region, it leads all other nations and has maintained this ranking for the past two years - an affirmation of investor confidence in the country's potential to attract investments over and above what the state will spend," added Al Khayyat.

While the future prospects for Qatar's infrastructure projects market look promising, supply and construction costs issues will eventually surface and have to be addressed. Al Khayyat is currently developing many projects, and is feeling the burden of rising construction costs. By Al Khayyat’s estimates, prices of construction materials have increased by as much as 5-10% in the last twelve months.

Qatar has set its sights beyond the staging of the World Cup, ensuring the assets it has built over the next decade will have productive use beyond the event. "The infrastructure that will be put in place over the next few years, will accommodate the expected influx of tourists and new expatriate workers as Qatar’s economy continues to grow. The stadiums are already being earmarked for use by local clubs and tournaments as well as regional sporting events,” explained Al Khayyat.

Doha certainly has the liquidity and financial might to make its ambitions happen. And the private sector will also have a role to play in contributing to the future growth of Qatar.

++ About Khayyat Contracting and Trading (KCT) - KCT is a general construction company which has prominently emerged as a key construction contractor in Qatar with visionary leadership and highly experienced management. Its primary mission is to translate its vast professional expertise into construction landmarks within the potential of Qatari emerging markets by providing the highest level of integrity, innovative solutions, and continuous client support.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tilal City, Sharjah

Tilal Properties, the new joint venture between Sharjah Asset Management and Eskan Real Estate Development, launched Tilal City, a mixed-use community with a total cost of Dhs 2 billion and an area of 25 million square feet.

Attended by His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Tilal Properties, as well as more than 300 VIP guests, the exclusive launch event in Sharjah’s Al Jawaher Convention Center offered attendees the opportunity to view the plans for the new sustainable, mixed-use community and register their interest in purchasing land plots for development.

Speaking at the event, HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that Tilal Properties, through the launch of its new city, seeks “to keep pace with the intellectual and urban development witnessed by Sharjah.”

He clarified that “Tilal City is one of a series of projects that will be implemented by Tilal Properties” and it will allow UAE residents to buy properties on a 100-year leasehold basis, according to the laws regulating Sharjah’s property market.

The Sharjah Executive Council has recently issued Resolution No. 26 of 2014, which, for the first time, allows foreign investors the right to own properties in Sharjah for up to 100 years. This resolution is expected to stimulate investment in the Emirate.

Pointing to the remarkable development witnessed by Sharjah in the real estate market, the Chairman of Tilal Properties said: “We all realize the importance of the real estate sector, which greatly contributes to the GDP and economic growth in general.”

He added: “Through Tilal City, we aspire to serve the real estate requirements of the Emirate and benefit all segments of the society. We also aspire to add this integrated model city to Sharjah’s tourist destinations.”

For his part, Khalifa Al Shaibani, Director General of Tilal Properties, said: “This development really sets Sharjah up as a destination for investors and prospective residents. We are building a new community that is of high-quality and of a modern design.”

He indicated that Tilal City would occupy a total area of 25 million square feet, including 13 million square feet for sale and 12 million square feet for public facilities, roads and parks.

The project, according to Al Shaibani, will comprise 1800 land plots. Split into five zones, it will provide high-quality, affordable housing for 65,000 residents in apartments, villas and townhouses. The construction of the infrastructure is well under way and will be complete in the first three zones by December 2016. Tilal City will also include commercial, office and retail space as well as multi-use community facilities, schools, mosques and landscaped open areas.

The brand new city is strategically located on Emirates Road, close to the Al Dhaid interchange, just 10 kilometers from Sharjah’s International Airport and within convenient commuting distance to nearby Emirates.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Select Group's Marina Gate II Achieves Record Sales

Following the grand success of the residences at the Marina Gate Tower I earlier this year, Select Group’s launch of Marina Gate II reflected the Dubai property market’s positive sentiment following a sellout within the first four hours of its sales launch.

The first phase of the Marina Gate II sales roll-out consisted of 180 units. The remaining units are scheduled for release during a series of planned roadshows across the GCC, North Africa, Europe and the Far East.

Located in the city’s most prized master development, Dubai Marina, Marina Gate II is one of three luxury residence towers within the master project. Offering breathtaking views of the Dubai Marina from across its 64 floors, Marina Gate II features 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments along with a signature collection of Marina Villas and Penthouses.

“Following the phenomenal reception of Tower I, we did have an extensive waiting list of pre-registered buyers anticipating this launch. However the on ground response that we experienced exceeded our projections. A very large percentage of our Tower I client base comes from across the GCC, North Africa, Europe and the Far East, which is where we intend to hold our international sales events for the remaining units from Marina Gate II to cater to their respective interests,” said Rahail Aslam, CEO of Select Group

“This is an interesting time for the Dubai real estate market wherein customers are more discerning about quality, location and developer reputation. And the launch response to Marina Gate II demonstrates how there is always a strong market demand for quality and reliability.” He added.

++ Select Group is one of the largest private developers in the UAE that has lived up to a reputation of quality, reliability and consistency since 2002. The group has delivered eight projects with an additional four underway within  Dubai Marina and boasts an impeccable track record of delivery across all its developments. The Group has recently completed an award winning development in the United Kingdom and holds an unwavering reputation across the region for successful projects like 'No.9', 'West Avenue' and 'Marina Gate.'

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