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 


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.'

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ventures Middle East Report Forecasts $45 Billion GCC Infrastructure Contracts In 2014

A new report forecasts that a more than USD 45 billion of infrastructure contracts will be awarded by the end of 2014 - double the USD 22.6 billion awarded in 2012.

The report 'GCC Infrastructure Market 2014,' prepared by Ventures Middle East, gives a snapshot of the billions of dollars being spent across the region with a focus on five areas: rail, roads, airports, ports and free trade zones.

The report also calculates that USD 97 billion of rail contracts are already underway as all six countries work towards the planned 2,117km GCC-wide rail network by 2018.

The Ventures report says almost USD 300 billion will be spent on airports in the Middle East over the next five years with passenger numbers in the GCC expected to reach almost 4 billion by 2017. And every GCC country is involved in expanding its seaports with an estimated USD 25 billion of ports expansion and investment planned.

Qatar has invested USD 8.2 billion on a state-of-the-art industrial port, Doha’s New Port Project, which is set to be completed ten years ahead of schedule in 2020.

Alongside its analysis of the current infrastructure market, the report prepared by Ventures Middle East in association with The Big 5 construction exhibition taking place in Dubai in November, gives guidance on licensing and registering your product or service in the region.

A vital part of a country’s infrastructure development is free trade zones and all countries in the GCC except Saudi Arabia offer them, though the UAE has the vast majority with 38.

The report says: “Free Trade Zones, or Special Economic Zones, are designated areas where governments allow businesses to set up. The UAE has the highest number of Free Zones in the GCC at 38, 20 of which are in the Emirate of Dubai.”

The report explains how they benefit foreign companies and suppliers and offers a checklist for any company looking to do business in the lucrative infrastructure sector.

To encourage international manufacturers and suppliers to set up their business in the UAE, The Big 5 organizes a free seminar on 'How to Trade in the UAE,' providing detailed information about free zones, legal framework and a step by step guide on how to do business in the country.

Adil Al Zarooni, senior vice president of sales at the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and Economic Zone will be one of the keynote speakers at the How to Trade Seminar.

He will offer an insight into the way free zones operate across the GCC. Mr. Al Zarooni states: “I will be speaking about the types of businesses and industries that will be attracted and I will highlight some of the success stories from Jafza.”

The Big 5 runs from 17 – 20 November at the Dubai World Trade Center and will be open from 11:00am to 7:00pm daily.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DAMAC Sees Most Successful Cityscape Ever

Senior executives at DAMAC Properties, one of Dubai's leading luxury real estate developers, has hailed this year's Cityscape Global as its most productive to date.

The DAMAC Properties stand was packed throughout the three day event, with investors from all over the world looking to learn more about the company's latest luxury master development, AKOYA Oxygen.

The 55 million sqft project in Dubailand was the highlight of a high quality show which reaffirmed the global belief in the Dubai real estate market.

“The last three days has shown investors belief in Dubai's fundamentals; this year's Cityscape Global has been the busiest ever for DAMAC Properties,” said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties. “Dubai is set on a stable growth pattern and the response to AKOYA Oxygen and our full luxury portfolio is testament to that.”

DAMAC Properties had a number of important announcements at the show: revealing that The Trump Organization will manage its 18-hole, championship-standard golf course in AKOYA Oxygen and that it has broken ground on a 1,250 key hotel in Business Bay, in collaboration with Paramount Hotels & Resorts - a project which will create the third largest hotel in Dubai.

‘The Paramount Hotel Dubai, Downtown’ will showcase timeless Hollywood elegance with contemporary styling and a polished integration of elements of Paramount Pictures movies through high tech media mapping and digital signage. As a complement, the property will honor its own identity influenced by the local creative communities, becoming a living showcase of contemporary arts reflected in every facet of the hotel.

“Dubai remains the strongest real estate market in the world. The right product at the right time with the right luxury developer is still a huge draw to savvy investors looking to capitalize on the emirate's safe-haven status,” added El Chaar. “We remain steadfast in our belief in Dubai and the core fundamentals that support its strong growth.”

Established in 2002, DAMAC has delivered almost 11,000 units to date and currently has a development portfolio of over 26,000 units at various stages of progress and planning as of June 30th 2014, which includes over 10,000 hotel rooms and serviced hotel apartments.

Monday, September 22, 2014

TECOM Investments Outlines Expansion At Cityscape Global

TECOM Investments, the master developer of Dubai’s leading industry-focused business parks, today invited investors to explore the many exciting opportunities across the retail, residential and hospitality sectors within its portfolio. TECOM Investments also outlined the enhancements planned for its existing business parks, provided a progress update on the key developments scheduled for release in 2015, and reaffirmed its commitment to support Dubai’s ongoing economic growth and development.

Badr Al Gargawi, CEO Development & Planning at TECOM Investments, said: “TECOM Investments was born from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to turn the Emirate into a knowledge economy with the announcement of Dubai Internet City in 1999. 15 years and 11 thriving business parks later, we remain fully committed to this vision and focused on developing it further by continuing to master plan and deliver a portfolio of successful business parks.”

To support the drive for investment across retail, residential and hospitality, new land plots will be released within and adjacent to TECOM Investments’ business parks in 2015, offering opportunities for local, regional and global investors in prime locations.

The strategic focus for TECOM Investments’ business parks in 2015 is to both enhance the existing offering for its business partners, and to release more office space onto the market, particularly in well connected, growth locations. Overall, TECOM Investments is developing 1 million sqft of additional office space, spread out across its business parks. These initiatives represent an overall investment of AED 1.5 billion.

TECOM Investments has pioneered the concept of community development to support its thriving free zone business parks. The company’s prime locations of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village are examples of this, with a 37,000 strong workforce benefiting from a mix of hospitality, retail, and commercial products. TECOM Investments plans to replicate this approach across its other business parks.

In addition, Dubai Industrial City, which is a strategic location for TECOM Investments due to its close proximity to Dubai World Central and the planned Expo 2020 site, will see additional infrastructure development and the diversification of its product offering within the site.

Mr Al Gargawi also provided an update on the recent launch of Villa Lantana, a freehold community of 440 contemporary family villas in Dubai’s new growth corridor of Al Barsha South. He commented:

“The construction of Villa Lantana, due for completion in the last quarter of 2015, is on track. Sales since the launch have been robust and exceeded our expectations. They have largely been driven by local and regional investors, with a key driver being TECOM Investments’ reputation for robust planning, quality construction, timely project delivery, and most importantly, knowing the needs of the end user.”

TECOM Investments also confirmed that construction of Dubai Design District, D3, the region’s first master planned hub for design and fashion excellence, which covers a total area of 21 million sqft in the heart of Dubai, is on track and set to be delivered on schedule. D3’s first project of 11 buildings of innovative office and retail space, located just minutes from Dubai’s Downtown area, will be released in the first quarter of 2015. TECOM Investments reported that the development cost of this first phase is AED 4 billion. 

Mr Al Gargawi, in discussing delivery of D3’s master plan, which was revealed ahead of Cityscape, said: “Key to the design of D3’s master plan was accommodating a broad spectrum of end users. We have achieved this by providing a real mix of land uses with a range of plot sizes. Another essential component was to optimize the utilization of existing and planned infrastructure, to ensure full integration with the surrounding areas, and to create a low-rise, pedestrian friendly scaled environment, which is unusual for Dubai, and adds another point of differentiation to the project. We have also included an abundance of public facilities and open spaces, to ensure a positive experience and a high quality of life for all those who will live, work and play there, including visitors and tourists.”

D3 will include a 1.8km Waterfront featuring design-led, luxury and boutique hotels, unique retail outlets, and stylish dining and entertainment venues. The site will provide capacity for 10,000 office workers, a creative community for up to 4,000 designers and innovators, as well as over 4,000 luxury and boutique hotel rooms. D3 has been designed to offer an environment built for creative people, by creative people.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nakheel Announces Palm Gateway Mega Project At Cityscape Global

Dubai developer Nakheel kicked off Cityscape Global  2014 with the launch today (Sunday) of The Palm Gateway – a three-tower waterfront living and leisure complex with more than 1,300 homes, a beach club, retail, dining and health and fitness facilities.

Located at the entrance to Palm Jumeirah with convenient transport links to other parts of the island and the rest of Dubai, The Palm Gateway comprises three individually designed high-rise residential buildings the tallest topping 260 meters – with one, two and three bedroom apartments available for lease.

The trio of towers will be constructed on the existing Palm Monorail Gateway terminal, the roof of which will be transformed into a 15th floor podium with infinity pool, shops and sports facilities set in extensively landscaped grounds. The Monorail is linked to the Dubai Tram and the Dubai Metro, offering convenient travel for residents and visitors at The Palm Gateway.

The Palm Gateway will also have its own beach club and park – a shaded, landscaped complex with a diverse range of waterfront dining and shopping options, pool, barbecue areas and fitness facilities, including a jogging track.

Unveiling the project at the Nakheel stand at Cityscape Global, Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, said: “The Palm Gateway brings yet another iconic, landmark project to our flagship, world-famous development of Palm Jumeirah, and adds hundreds more residential and retail units to our leasing portfolio.

“The project combines luxury beachfront living, exciting shopping, dining and entertainment and some of the best water and city views in the Middle East, and promotes sustainability, with its extensive health, wellbeing and fitness facilities and convenient transport links for travel within the surrounding areas and across Dubai.”

The Palm Gateway at a glance:

> Three towers comprising 1,313 apartments and duplexes for lease

> 5.5 million sq ft gross floor area

> Tubular Tower (261 meters, 61 floors including 46 above podium level, 520 apartments), Central Tower (211 meters, 49 floors including 32 above podium, 429 apartments); Beach Tower (205 meters, 48 floors including 34 above podium, 313 apartments)

> Additional 57 terrace apartments and duplexes within existing 14 storey Gateway building

> 4,000 parking spaces

> 15th floor landscaped podium deck with pool, sports courts and 8,600 sq ft of retail space

> Beach club with kiosks and restaurants

> Gym, spa, pools, sports courts and jogging track

> Supermarket and food court within podium building

> Onsite Palm Monorail, linked to the Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro

> Extensive views of Palm Jumeirah, the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline

The Palm Gateway will join a range of other communities in Nakheel’s leasing portfolio, which now comprises around 18,500 units at developments such as The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, International City, Nad Al Sheba and Palm Jumeirah.  Nakheel’s current retail leasing offering spans more than 2.4 million sq ft, with another 6.1 million sq ft under development.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

35,000 Participants Expected At Cityscape Global

Cityscape Global, the Middle East’s largest and most influential property show, opens tomorrow (21 September) with 35,000 participants expected from around the world and exhibitor numbers climbing above 280 for the first time in five years.

According to the Dubai Land Department (DLD), supporters of the show, 6,636 properties were registered across the Emirate for the first half of the year, further underlining the sustained investor confidence in the real estate market.

Omniyat, Nikken Sekkei, Seven Tides, Sun & Sand Developers and TDIC will be among the leading developers and architects launching new projects at the three-day event, which takes place from 21-23 September at the Dubai World Trade Center

With AED113 billion worth of transactions pumped into the Dubai property industry in the last six months, DLD believes Dubai has now established itself as a prime global destination for real estate, following the implementation of new laws and regulations which safeguard investors.

HE Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of Dubai Land Department said: “Dubai’s real estate market is unique and offers a diverse range of products and services, meaning that there are opportunities for large and small investors.

“The renewed confidence in the market is a sign of Dubai’s resilience. It has proved that it can weather adverse conditions and can immediately respond by capitalizing on an improving outlook.

“Our aim is to facilitate the market’s expansion, we enact laws and regulations to find proactive solutions to problems, whilst at the same time maintaining the rights of all investors.”

The Middle East’s largest and most influential property show is co-located with three dedicated and expert-led conferences, the Global Real Estate Summit, Future Cities and the Real Estate Brokers Summit, which are expected to bring together more than 1000 senior real estate professionals.

Also running in tandem with the exhibition is the Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets. Consisting of 13 categories, winners will be announced at an elaborate ceremony taking place at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, on 22 September in Dubai.

Cityscape Global 2014 is supported by the Foundation Sponsors Emaar, Dubai Properties and Nakheel; International Strategic Partner Property Solutions; Gold Sponsor Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC); Project Marketing Sponsor Aqua Properties; Official Architect Architecture & Planning Group (APG); Official Broker Trisl Real Estate; Official Mortgage Provider Abu Dhabi Finance; Silver Sponsors Apex Real Estate Development L.L.C. and Tecom Investments; and Property Registration Trustee Partner Tamleek Property Transfer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anantara Residences Dubai Takes On New York And London

Release of exclusive Anantara Residences penthouses at upcoming Cityscape Global 2014 will offer international investors a high value, high yield alternative to the London and New York property markets together with full access to five-star hotel facilities.

Dubai-based developer Seven Tides has announced the release of 12 ultra-exclusive penthouse apartments at its Anantara Residences Dubai on Palm Jumeirah, the two to four-bedroom ‘blank canvas’ units, starting from US $5.5 million.

Occupying prime positions in both the South and North Towers of the five-star residential community, the penthouses will be presented to investors at this year’s Cityscape Global exhibition, which takes place in Dubai from 21-23 September 2014.

To date, two penthouses have been sold with the remaining available units offered between 7,468 and 13,478 -square feet of shell and core space. All come with spectacular panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, Atlantis Hotel, Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina skyline, as well as private pools and extensive terraces for private entertaining.

“The Anantara Residences penthouses rank right up there with comparable investment opportunities in other global gateway destinations such as Paris, Rome or Vancouver, but still offer remarkable value in terms of price and square footage compared to properties in London or New York,” said Abdulla Bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides.

“In addition to lifestyle considerations, international HNWIs are looking at location appeal and investment potential, and this is where Dubai – and Palm Jumeirah especially – with its unparalleled standard of living, global connectivity and business environment are ticking all the right boxes,” he added.

Priced from AED 20.5 million (US $5.5 million) up to AED 40 million (US $10.9 million) for shell and core space, comparable units in other high profile international cities would get you a 2,691-square foot five-bedroom furnished penthouse overlooking the Esplanade des Invalides in Paris’ 19th arrondissement (US $4.9 million); the top floor of a former palace in Rome with 4,575-square feet of space and Tiber river views (US $4.95 million); or, for a little extra, a three-level, seven terrace and two elevator penthouse in Vancouver’s Grace Tower (US $7.9 million).

However, New York and London remain a different story with US $26 million the asking price for a mere 5,000-square foot five-bedroom penthouse within The Park Laurel on West 63rd Street in Manhattan, and a four-bedroom, 4,100-square foot Chelsea Harbor area penthouse in London costing upwards of US $15 million.

“Space really does come at a premium and this is where the Anantara Residences offers investors an added advantage with an incredible amount of both indoor and al fresco space, plus exclusive access to the five-star facilities and services at the adjacent Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa.

“However, besides the current value aspect, the Palm is also in a league of its own when capital appreciation is considered. The price per square foot for villas has increased by 55% over the last year and 31% for apartments all contributing towards significant yield figures – performance levels other destinations will find difficult to compete with,” added Bin Sulayem.

Residents can enjoy the benefits of usage of the hotel’s 4,000-square foot gym, 110,000-square feet of temperature controlled lagoon pools, six world-class dining and entertainment venues, signature Anantara Spa and private stretch of white sand beach.

Bin Sulayem also confirmed that 70% of the one and two-bedroom units in the South Tower have already been sold, with the recently released North Tower also performing well.

“Our clients are true global citizens, with buyers from around the world including GCC nationals, Russians, Asians and Europeans; and so Cityscape Global offers us another great platform through which we can reach out to prospective investors,” he remarked.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Saudis Will Invest Big At Cityscape Global

A leading Saudi investment and development company makes Cityscape Global debut ahead of US $480million REIT announcement as it looks to partner up on local and regional real estate portfolio development including substantial land bank opportunities

Riyadh-headquartered investment and development company, Al Ibrahim Investment Group, will participate as a first-time exhibitor at Cityscape Global 2014 with an SAR 5billion Ryal (US $1,333million) investment purse and the goal of developing long-term strategic partnerships to grow its real estate portfolio.

Owned by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Chairman of the Group, the group already has a healthy portfolio of active regional real estate projects plus a substantial land bank that includes a prime site in Egypt.

According to Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al Ibrahim, Vice Chairman of Al Ibrahim Investment Group, the company is looking at various asset class opportunities from residential and commercial projects to hotels and other specialty sectors.

“We already work with an astute group of international investors from across the Kingdom as well as Egypt, Tunisia, France, Germany and the UK, and our future vision is to set up a series of investment funds encompassing both domestic and international projects, in alliance with equally visionary partners across a variety of industry sectors,” he said.

Al Anwa for Investment & Real Estate Development, the company’s real estate arm, will reveal details of its latest real estate investment trust (REIT) at Cityscape Global, which will be one of the largest private REITs in the KSA valued at SAR 1.8billion (US $480million).

With an established track record in the GCC real estate sector including the establishment of REITs, residential project development and tourism and trade-related endeavors, Al Ibrahim is also keen to ensure that its projects deliver in terms of adding value to the communities where they are located and the local economy.

“If we use Saudi Arabia as an example where, as an investor, developer and landlord, we already own projects in strategic locations including Riyadh, Mecca and Jeddah province, it is a fundamental part of our mandate that we provide strong returns on investment for our partners as well as benefit the local community and economy,” he said.

The Al Ibrahim Investment Group umbrella also includes the Saudi Egyptian Company for Tourism Development, which owns some of Cairo’s most prominent hotels including the Grand Hyatt, plus an exclusive River Nile location (investment lands) and a number of plots in Cairo and at Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.

It also owns and operates two luxury hotels in the popular Tunisian resort of Sousse, through its Saudi Tunisian Investment and Development company subsidiary, as well as ownership of a 100,000-square meter plot of prime coastal land that is ready for development as a signature mixed-use residential-meets-tourism project.

“At the moment we are preparing for the imminent launch of a number of schemes focusing on quality and added-value services for our projects and existing developments in the Central Region of the Kingdom, which will contribute to maintaining a balance between supply and demand, and meet the needs and desires of the market,” said Salman bin Abdullah bin Fadilah, General Manager, Al Anwa.

He also noted that the company intends to launch a new investment project located on the King’s Road in Jeddah in addition to an integrated services residential scheme in the north of the province. Al Anwa has also started work on a preliminary study and design concept for an ‘under-wraps’ project for the Jeddah Corniche.

Cityscape Global will take place September 21-23 at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

DAMAC And FENDI Team Up For Ultra Luxury Projects

DAMAC Properties has launched the world's first FENDI-styled villas. The 34 properties are located in a private-gated community in the 42 million sqft AKOYA by DAMAC master development off Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai.

Each unit comes with interior designs and decor from the FENDI Casa range and offers a unique and stylish interpretation of the iconic Italian fashion brand, all of which is uniquely designed by FENDI’s specialist interior designers, to offer a contemporary home for the most prestigious living experience.

The villas, which come with a starting price of AED 36,000,000 and will be ready in Q1 2017, have a prime location overlooking the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai. The villas vary in size from 7,900 sqft to 16,767 sqft.

“These exclusive, limited edition, FENDI villas are being designed with only the most stylish and demanding clientele in mind,” said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties. “The creativity and elegance brought to life in the world’s first FENDI villas take pride of place in one of the most desirable locations in AKOYA by DAMAC.

Given the limited number of villas available, combined with the response we have already seen since announcing this project, we expect these select designs to be very well received.”

FENDI Casa translates the FENDI savoir faire and creativity, as well as its distinctive materials, into elegant objects and cinematic ambiances that are timeless and exceptionally made. Fur is used for the sofas, cushions and carpets; leather on the couches is treated with the same flair as Selleria handmade and numbered bags; marbles, stones and woods are mixed in inventively precious ways. In pure FENDI style, pieces and details are so carefully streamlined they become instantly iconic, from the Crystal Chair to the spectacular Urano Bed.

DAMAC Properties has a long-established collaboration with FENDI. The two companies are also collaborating on projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Dubai Marina in the UAE.

DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments, housed within a 150 meter high tower overlooking the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, will provide refined luxurious interiors by the Italian fashion house for more than 100 luxury serviced hotel apartments.

The two companies are also partnering on the interiors for private apartments on the top 40-storeys of DAMAC Heights, which looks out over the Palm Jumeirah.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dubai Property Show Announced

Sumansa Exhibitions, the organizers of the internationally acclaimed Indian Property Show and Dubai’s popular Ramadan Night Market announced the grand launch of 'Dubai Property Show' today at a Press Conference held at Burj Al Arab, Dubai. The exclusive property expo will be a highly targeted and unique showcase of Dubai and UAE properties and the first event of its kind promising to get Real Estate Developers, Sales & Marketing Agents, Hospitality Developers, Hotels, Financial Institutions, Government Departments, Architects & Interior Designers among others under the same umbrella with an opportunity to meet high-net worth customers and investors on a global platform. Dubai Property Show will be held at the prestigious and centrally located Olympia London over 3 days from Feb 27, 2015 - March 1, 2015. The organizers are expecting 2000 serious property buyers to visit the show which will be spread over a total area of 3800sqm with 120 exhibiting stands.

 “We at Sumansa are very proud to present the innovative and highly exclusive concept of Dubai Property Show. Under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai has already attracted global attention and created an extensive investment opportunity for the world, much of which revolves around the hospitality and real estate industry. Now, the Dubai Property Show intends to ride on this wave, creating awareness about the real estate opportunities in Dubai and highlighting the benefits of investing in property. If you are a real estate developer from Dubai (or the UAE), with a  keen interest in exploring new market opportunities and expanding  your client base, the Dubai Property Show is the place to be in  2015”, said Sunil Jaiswal, CEO Sumansa Exhibitions.

“Dubai’s real estate is one of the best markets in the world and surely number one in the Middle East region, Dubai has achieved a great reputation world wide as a favorite tourist & business destination. On the other hand, British property investors are savvy, they understand the potential here and also value no tax policy on rental and capital gains, plus no restriction on repatriation of funds just makes the Dubai real estate market not only fruitful but easy and transparent”, commented Jaiswal.

Dubai Property Show will allow participants to reach a completely new and high-potential customer base. A base that has a large group of financiers, investors and end-users that is yet untapped on a large scale by Dubai’s developers. That global-thinking, international customer base is in London, United Kingdom – the location for the inaugural Dubai Property Show. A London launch of the Dubai Property Show will give exhibitors access to more than 8 million Londoners and millions living in other European countries. Additionally, in the months of February to March, London will also see visitors from all parts of the world and all of them can be the potential customers. Exhibitors at the show can find a completely new audience to sell projects to, and even find investors and finance companies interested in partnering with them to take their ideas forward.

Here is a link to the Dubai Property Show website:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures Join Forces On AED 2.3 Billion Royal Estates Mega Project

Following the recent joint venture agreement that was penned down between Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures, the partners revealed the project name and details while announcing the pre-launch phase.

Royal Estates in Dubai Investments Park is what the 2.3 billion master planned development is named. The beautifully landscaped community grounds will house 2000 units in all, comprising apartments, villas, boutique retail spaces, an office complex and a luxury hotel.

The Royal Estates will go on sale beginning the first week of August with apartment units starting at AED 450,000 and townhouses from AED 1.6 million on up.

Atiq Merchant, Director, PAL Developments LLC, said: "The Royal Estates community provides a sanctuary of purposefully designed spaces complimented by inspired aesthetics that celebrate the innovation and modernization that are synonymous to Dubai today." He added, "It presents an outstanding opportunity, providing a range of choices for investors and home owners in a locale where demand is expected to rise ahead of the Dubai 2020 Expo. Given our team's collective inclination to create an ideal community that rejoices family living, Royal Estates promises to be a perfect backdrop for all those precious memories waiting to be created."

“A step above the rest is what we have strived to create with Royal Estates by ensuring every aspect of the development is nothing less than the best. We are excited about the venture and commit our best to all investors from quality to delivery”, said Osman Valli, Chairman, Aristocrat Star Real Estate Development.

“The Royal Estates development is the fruition of a common vision shared between the team, a vision to create accessible investment opportunities within high quality real estate in Dubai. The project reflects Tony Ashai’s contemporary and chic design sensibilities while being housed in the midst of lush green landscaping. And considering the attractive introductory price points we have finalized, Royal Estates has all that it takes to become every family’s dream home”, said, Parvez Khan, Chairman, Pacific Ventures.

The project sales will commence on August 7th, 2014 and Phase 1 of the project comprised of 400 units shall be delivered during the first quarter of 2016.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Al Thuriah Launches Two New Towers In The Sahara Complex

Al Thuriah, a leading service provider to the real estate and construction industry, recently announced two big milestones – firstly, the Sahara 3 Tower will be completed ahead of schedule and ready for occupancy by residents before the end of 2014; secondly, the company has announced the construction of two more high-rise residential towers Sahara 4 and Sahara 5.

The new towers will be located in the Sahara Complex, which is an ideal location at the border between Sharjah and Dubai. Considered the gateway to Sharjah, the towers will be easily accessible and will have three hospitals, more than 10 schools and the Sahara Mall in the vicinity. The towers are strategically placed to offer proximity to major landmarks like Dubai International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, American University of Sharjah, etc.

The Sahara Complex is a very peaceful and quiet area, and the towers will have an amazing view of the golden sunsets at Mamzar beach and the green foliage of Mamzar park. The building material and fittings that will be used for these two towers will be best-in-class and from leading construction materials manufacturers and suppliers.

Sahara 4 will have 6 floors of reserved parking space and 27 residential floors while Sahara 5 will have 5 floors of parking space and 15 floors of residential space. The spacious flats serve as a perfect haven for family moments enjoyed amidst well-appointed luxury in a lavish setting, complemented by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow for brilliant rays of natural sunlight to stream in and brighten the days.

The apartments will be well-equipped with 24-hour security and complete facilities management. Both the towers will also offer in-building relaxation and recreational options like a swimming pool with lifeguards, and a supervised gym and health club.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Raymond Khouzami, CEO, Al Thuriah, said, "With Sahara Complex, we have created a winning formula. A complete package that combines the ingredients of practicality, class and serenity with a guaranteed build quality and timely commitment. This is the success story of the Sahara Towers."

The apartments in both Sahara Tower 4 and Sahara Tower 5 are available for Freehold Ownership as per Sharjah Government Rules and Regulations to GCC nationals and Arabs with a UAE Resident Visa.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Schon's Dubai Lagoon Set To Go!

Schon Properties, a leading Dubai property developer, has successfully secured an investment of AED 339 million for the completion of the Dubai Lagoon project. The investment agreement was signed with Xanadu Real Estate Development LLC, a local real estate development company at the Lands Department on Monday, June 2nd. Simultaneously an agreement between the developer and PGS Gulf Contracting Company was signed. This agreement awarded a construction contract worth AED 678 million to the contracting company for the Dubai Lagoon project.

Mr. Danial H. Schon, Vice President of Schon Properties, commented, “This is a turning point for Dubai Lagoon project and we are pleased to tie-up with Xanadu Real Estate Development to complete construction of the project. The funds are being utilized for the completion of Dubai Lagoon project, which also includes the Juma Masjid located within the residential project. Schon-Xanadu have instructed PGS Gulf Contracting to enhance the finishing of the project by including the highest quality items. Given its location and quality construction, Dubai Lagoon is poised to be one of the best master development communities in Dubai.”

Speaking on behalf of Xanadu Real Estate Development, Mr. Adel A AlBreiki, Managing Director, said, “Xanadu is one of the few developers to have consistently delivered projects through the downturn of the real estate market. The prospects of the location are excellent, with the EXPO site in close proximity, and huge appreciation can be expected in coming years. We are excited to partner with Schon Properties to deliver this project.”

Speaking on behalf of PGS Gulf Contracting, Mr. Cenc Yabas stated, “Having a team of over 2,000 personnel on our site, we are more than equipped for this job. Deliveries are expected to commence starting from March 2016 until December 2016. Mobilization works have commenced onsite. Furthermore, construction prices have been covered through the contract with the developer. We are set to go. “

Present during the signing at the Land Department were the Deputy CEO of Rera, Mr. Yousef Al Hashimi, Mr. Emad Farouq the senior legal advisor of the Dubai Land Department and Mr. Abdulrahman Al Yasi from the Trust Accounts Department. Representing Schon Properties was Mr. Danial H. Schon and Mr. Firas Hassan. Adel Albreiki, Managing Partner of Xanadu Real Estate Development and Mr. Cenc Yabas, Managing Partner of PGS Gulf Contracting signed the construction contract.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dubai's Top 5 Mega Projects

With a combined value of close to $240bn, Dubai’s biggest real estate projects will massively redefine the emirate’s landscape in the next decade.

MEED Projects, which tracks various construction projects across the region, has compiled the latest data on ongoing property developments in Dubai and has listed the top five projects that will have a massive impact on the city’s socio-economic landscape in the coming years.

The biggest in terms of value is Meraas Holdings’ Jumeirah Gardens project, estimated at $89.5bn and is due for completion in 2021, followed by Dubai Holding’s Dubai Land development, valued at $61bn with a completion date set in 2020.

The ongoing $16.7bn Dubai World Central development that will be completed in 2030 came in next, followed by Limitless’ Downtown Jebel Ali project, estimated at $14.6bn set for completion in 2020.

Rounding up the top five is the Al Jadaf Area Development Culture Village (Arabian Bays) project by Dubai Holding which has a budget of $11.6bn to be completed by 2017.

MEED released the data ahead of the forthcoming Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference, scheduled on June 9-10, 2014 at the Grosvenor House, an event that aims to provide clarity on the viability of Dubai as a long-term, sustainable real estate investment opportunity.

Endorsed by the Dubai Land Department, MEED’s Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference will address the development and sustainable evolution of Dubai’s real estate market – the world’s fastest growing real estate market, according to Forbes magazine – with fresh insights from leading local and international property experts.

“Dubai is shaping up as an intelligently master planned Mega City, with a booming economy. We now hear of aerotropolis community concepts – cities built around airports – which will most likely emerge in Dubai as it gears up in a big way to develop the Al Maktoum International Airport as a centerpiece development in time for the World Expo 2020 event,” said Julio Armando De Quesada, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Group, Mashreq

With residential property prices returning to an upward direction in recent months, and a fresh new wave of projects over the next 8 years in the lead up to World Expo 2020, real estate analysts generally see Dubai’s property sector booming in a big way.

Among the highly touted projects include the ongoing Business Bay project, currently valued at $11.2bn, which is expected to be fully completed in two years’ time; as well as the Muhammed Bin Rashid City, which is being developed jointly by Dubai Holding, Emaar, and Meydan Sobha at a cost of $11bn for completion in 2023.

Emaar’s Downtown Dubai development project, with a budget of $10.9bn, is expected to be fully realized in 2020, the time when Meydan also hopes to complete the full development of its Meydan City project at a cost of $7.3bn. Add to this the Dubai Government’s Expo 2020 build-up, which will cost $7bn and will be in place by 2019.

“As the market revives there is an imperative need for more accurate, real-time and definitive information on Dubai’s real estate sector to manage the risk of overheating of the sector,” said Edmund O’ Sullivan, Chairman, MEED Events, organizers of Dubai Real Estate 2020.

The event will create a platform for Dubai’s regulators and leading real estate institutional investors, government and private developers, lenders, advisers, consultants and property professionals to discuss issues and identify solutions for the emirate to move towards a more mature real estate market. Highlights of the conference include critical discussions by the Central Bank of the UAE, Dubai Land Department and RERA on fiscal regulations, reducing the dependency of developers on investors and limiting speculative buying, as well as Dubai Municipality presentation outlining the future real estate development plans, land release programs and the overall master plan for the city.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will present a detailed analyst’s view on the impact of Expo 2020 for the UAE’s real estate sector, providing fresh insights on where the opportunities lie as Dubai gears up to host its biggest event yet. Conference delegates will also be able to receive hands-on tactical investment insight from key institutional investors such as real estate funds, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, investment banks, private equity, and others with collective assets under management (AuM) of over US$10bn.

Ian Albert, Regional Director, Colliers International Middle East, said: “The UAE property market is currently experiencing an exciting phase in its development with a number of significant projects scheduled to break ground and many already underway. These projects will drive growth in the property market and the wider UAE economy including the hospitality and retail sectors. Winning World Expo 2020 added further stimulus to a buoyant economy underpinned by a rising population, booming tourism industry and significant environmental, cultural and infrastructure projects.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Abu Dhabi Announces More Projects!

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) announced that 13 development projects covering over four million sqm were approved during the first quarter of the year, with 70% of this area being residential.

Five of these approved projects were Master Plans, with the remaining eight being detailed Project Plans. A Master Plan is defined as separated multiple buildings, with a road network and community facilities, which must meet certain requirements and standards based on the size of the development. A detailed Project Plan is defined as a single building with no road network, but can include multiple buildings connected by a podium, and requires no community facilities.

One of the biggest project approvals was for Aldar Properties’ Al Raha Beach East Master Plan. Al Raha Beach is a mixed-use development being constructed adjacent to the E10 Highway on Abu Dhabi Mainland, close to Yas Island. The development consists of reclaimed land along the coast with a series of canals and islands interlinked by boulevards creating a unique waterfront community stretching over 20 kilometers.

Al Raha Beach East is the first phase of the overall Al Raha Beach development and will provide over 3,000 apartments, townhouses and villas as well as 50,000 sqm of prime Grade A office space.

Another large Master Plan project approval was for further development of the Petroleum Institute on the Abu Dhabi Mainland, which will continue its focus on educating Emiratis in areas of resource exploration and field development, gas and petrochemical production and processing, and other engineering and geosciences applications. The new enhancements to the campus will include a new male undergraduate center, a new research center and research park, and a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program and residential blocks. The Petroleum Institute project will be developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Master Plans for UAE National residential projects were approved for Aldar Properties’ Al Shabahat development in Al Ain (for sale to UAE Nationals), and the Bida Al Mutawa development (which will be developed by Musanada as part of the UAE National Housing Program) in Al Gharbia, which collectively will offer over 240 villas, as well as community centers, parks and mosques, to UAE Nationals.

Also approved was the Al Hai Al Tejari project in Al Gharbia, which was announced at the Al Gharbia Development Forum in Abu Dhabi. The project is a mixed-use development at the center of Ghayathi City, located on the main road that connects the major settlements of the Western Region.  It will include a town center, office and retail space, residential apartments and a cinema, and will vastly improve the lifestyle of the existing community in that area.

The remaining eight approvals were for detailed Project Plans, which included Farglory’s EW11 development on Al Maryah Island and Aldar Properties’ Shams Abu Dhabi development on Al Reem Island, both residential projects.

In the education sector, a Project Plan for the new Institute of Applied Technology campus in Al Ain was approved, which will comprise a vocational high school and university for up to 2,400 female Emirati students, and will have a 2 Pearl Rating under the Estidama sustainability program.

A detailed Project Plan for an extension to Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, which will add an additional 135,000 sqm to the existing 34,500 sqm of the current campus, to serve a total of 3,000 students and 762 faculty and staff when completed, was also approved. The new campus will include Abu Dhabi’s first Medical School, an integrated Engineering College and Research & Development facilities, and will also provide students with world-class facilities such as an auditorium, students center and sports center. The University also intends to enlarge their current Discovery Center to 1,800 sqm to encourage public involvement in science and technology, with the ultimate goal of establishing Abu Dhabi as a knowledge-driven city.

Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Development Review & Estidama, UPC, said: “These approved projects bring us closer to achieving the goals of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. The Development Review team is very careful and deliberate in its evaluation of all project proposals; each one must adhere to our regulations and guidelines for planning Complete Sustainable Communities and take into account environmental, societal, cultural and economic factors, thereby ensuring that every new development is in line with the overall vision for the Emirate.”

Since 2007, the UPC’s Development Review Team has delivered 432 projects and master plans covering an area of 50 million sqm. In addition to the above, these developments include Zayed University (Zayed City), Al Maryah Island, the Guggenheim (Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi World Trade Center and Yas Waterworld, among many others.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kingdom Tower Completed By 2018!

The Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, which will be the world’s tallest tower at 1,008 meters, will be completed in December 2018, said Mounib Hammoud, CEO of Jeddah Economic Company, speaking at MEED’s Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) in Dubai.

The contractors working on the SR6bn ($1.6bn) project expect to complete the raft foundation of the tower, which is the largest of its kind in the world, in August this year. “It is the largest concrete raft in the world. In places, the thickness is five meters,” says Hammoud. “Everything in the tower is the biggest or tallest.”

The first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City will be 1.4 million square meters and will include the tower, a mall, a large mosque for 12,000 worshipers, and residential and commercial buildings. France’s BNP Paribas is the financial adviser for the deal and the local Alinma Bank is also assisting with the loan that will bridge the funding gap while the developer waits for revenues from land sales at Jeddah Kingdom City.

The contractor chosen for Kingdom Tower is the local Saudi Binladin Group. In February 2013, a joint venture of the UK-based EC Harris/Mace was awarded for the project management contract to oversee the development of the tower.

The client developing Kingdom Tower and the surrounding Kingdom City is Jeddah Economic Company, which said it is looking to raise about $1bn to help fund the estimated SR13bn ($3.5bn) first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City, together with the SR8.7bn that the shareholders of Jeddah Economic Company have provided to capitalize the company.

Land sales and off-plan property sales are expected to accelerate as construction work on the SR6bn Kingdom Tower’s superstructure starts. “We are not in a hurry to sell land as the value is increasing as the tower construction moves ahead,” said Hammoud.

++ Kingdom Tower is currently one of my favorite Mega Projects and is destined to become a World Icon. This tower will dwarf even the mighty Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Mega Projects being developed in Saudi Arabia, including Kingdom Tower, King Abdullah Economic City, King Abdullah Financial District and many others, are truly spectacular!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mega Projects Could Cost More Than Expected

With more than $2.5 trillion worth of projects in prospect in the years to 2030, the GCC is set to enjoy one of the greatest construction booms the world has ever seen.

But there are risks as well as rich prizes for those bidding for major projects in the region, says Anthony Holmes, director of the UK’s Institute for Infrastructure Studies and an internationally recognized authority on the economic impact of Mega Projects.

“The chances of there being problems with the region’s Mega Project program are enormous,” Holmes says. “Elsewhere in the world, these projects tend to go 40-80 percent over budget. International experience has also shown that big projects don’t get delivered on time.”

“What’s happening in the Middle East region to suggest the outcome will be different?” says Holmes. “There is nothing. It is all being done in the same way. This could mean that the project program in Qatar alone is going to cost at least $80bn more than budgeted.”

MEED(Middle East Economics Digest) estimates that at least 150 projects each worth a minimum of $1bn are due to be completed in the GCC by 2030. Their combined value is estimated at close to $900bn, more than one-third of the value of all projects under way at present or planned in the region.

Details of some of these Mega Projects will be comprehensively discussed at the forthcoming Arabian World Construction Summit(AWCS) on May 12-14, 2014 in the Sofitel Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. During the conference, local and international experts will also discuss project opportunities and challenges throughout the Arab world, with rising costs as one of the most important factors that could impact on completion and delivery of Mega Projects.

“What is clear is that there’s an enormous concentration of planned project activity in the region,” Holmes says. “You have to think about the material needed to execute all that work. There doesn’t seem to be sufficient work done on quantifying the needs in the years to 2030.”

The rise in costs may be something that Qatar can absorb, but competition for building material, equipment and talent will have an impact on poorer nations in the region.

“If you look at places like Turkey and Egypt, you see that they won’t be able to do the things they want,” says Holmes. “Resources are going to be diverted to Qatar and other GCC markets.”

“GCC countries also don’t have to go to the international capital market,” says Holmes. “But others in the region like Egypt, Oman and Turkey will have to. So even if GCC countries can afford the additional costs, there will be regional implications.”

Holmes, an economist and former investment banker, will moderate the infrastructure Mega Project development Masterclass during the Arabian World Construction Summit. He will also participate in the conference as an expert panelist.

At the AWCS, Holmes will highlight the risks facing all those involved with delivering Mega Projects. But his focus will be identifying actionable solutions.

“What can be done is better co-ordination, particularly in information,” he says. “You can’t make decisions about material resources unless you have information. We need someone to establish a non-partisan body and capture data about future trends in the regional projects market. And there needs to be a regional investment bank that looks only at infrastructure projects.”

Adding to Holmes’ comment on the importance of capturing hard data about future trends, Alistair Kirk, industry expert and Middle East Head of Infrastructure at EC Harris says, “Key pieces of infrastructure stimulate wider economic growth and generate agglomeration benefits – from supporting urbanization and industrial growth to providing stronger trade links. With the major construction boom expected in the region over the next 14 years, relevant industry data and research, pertaining to the infrastructure sector, is fundamental for industry players.”

“Highlighted within the 2014 Global Infrastructure Investment Index (GIII), the UAE and Qatar are highly ranked among the world’s 40 most dynamic countries with greatest potential for growth and investment in infrastructure. The analysis reveals insights into the peculiarities and opportunities in these countries, showcasing areas for long-term growth, financial risks and financial investor prospects.”

EC Harris’ GIII report is expected to launch regionally this quarter to further support the regions’ infrastructure Mega Projects. Regional experts across the sectors from EC Harris will participate and speak at the conference this week.

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS received overwhelming support from projects’ market stakeholders, such as CPC and HSBC which signed up as the event’s Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and BESIX / Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Bentley Systems as the CEO Forum Sponsor and Deloitte as Knowledge Partner.

Monday, April 28, 2014

GCC Invests Heavily In Turkish Real Estate

Demand for luxury residences in upmarket districts of Istanbul continues to rise, fueled by buyers from the Middle East who are also attracted by investment opportunities presented by developments in the city’s growing suburbs, said Turkish property agency Spot Blue International Property in April.

In March 2014 alone, foreigners bought 478 properties in Istanbul, out of a nationwide total of 1,362, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Istanbul accounted for 20 percent of all property transactions in Turkey during March. Evidence suggests that districts such as Bebek and Nişantaşı on the European side of the city, and Başdat Street on the Asian side are helping to drive foreign sales, as they attract an increasing number of wealthy citizens from the Gulf Nations. Sales to foreigners are further boosted by Middle Eastern investors targeting buy-to-let opportunities in residential developments in the suburban districts of Bahcesehir, Sariyer, Beylikduzu, Arnavutkoy and Esenyurt.

“The Gulf-Turkish affair is gaining momentum,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Only this month, Istanbul hosted an investment summit during which Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited investors from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to come to Turkey. Earlier in the year, a Turkish delegation was in Qatar promoting Turkey while a Kuwait Turkish Real Estate Forum will take place in Kuwait at the end of April. At Spot Blue we have seen a rise in interest from Kuwaitis and Qataris in particular in recent weeks. For Gulf investors, Istanbul is an attractive stepping stone between the East and West, as well as a place to be seen.”

Confidence in Istanbul’s property market has been boosted by a series of infrastructure projects set in motion by the governing AK Party, including a new mega airport and improved transport links between the Asian and European sides of the city, as well as an extension of the underground. In addition, $50 Billion has been committed to re-developing entire districts to ensure all buildings are earthquake proof. Construction is currently Turkey’s biggest industry sector.

Growth in Istanbul’s real estate market is unmatched by European markets, most of which remain depressed, and price growth is occurring at similar levels to London. “Typical buy-to-let investments are in the $150,000 to $200,000 bracket,” continued Julian Walker. “The market is moving quickly though. Our representative in Istanbul reports that new apartments in prime areas of Beylikduzu that were on the market six months ago for $80,000 could be worth circa $100,000 once the development is completed later in the year.”

Complementing Istanbul’s growing status amongst the international jet set is its increasing appeal to tourists. The city was voted the best place to visit in the world in this year’s TripAdvisor Awards, while 35 million people visited the country as a whole last year, a 10 percent increase over 2012, according to the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

$4 Trillion Construction Boom In MENA Region!

With more than $40bn worth of new contracts awarded in the six-nation GCC alone in the first quarter, the projects markets of the Middle East are set to enjoy a record-breaking year in 2014.

So far, the high profile projects that have been awarded include the $12bn Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s Clean Fuels Project; Qatar’s Ashgal has so far awarded over $3bn for the Expressway and LRDP projects; Abu Dhabi’s Musanada has awarded over $1bn worth of contracts for the Mafraq-Ghuweifat Road Development project; Qrail has awarded $700mn worth of contracts for the Elevated Section of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South project; and Al Reem Island in the UAE has awarded the main contract with a value of $705mn.

MEED's (Middle East Economic Digest's) latest forecast is that new contract awards in the GCC will approach $150bn in the year ending 2014 compared with about $135bn in the previous 12 months. The project boom encompasses all six markets and extends across all sectors.

Confidence is being further lifted by the irresistible rise in project spending in Iraq where oil production last year reached an all-time high of more than 3m b/d. At least $20bn of new contracts are expected to be placed in Iraq by the end of 2014 in a capital investment program that will establish the country as one of the most exciting prospects in the world for the local, regional and global construction industry.

Figures compiled by MEED Projects show that a total of almost $2.5 TRILLION worth of contracts are planned or under way in the GCC. A further $500bn worth of projects are at a similar stage in Iraq. For the MENA region as a whole, more than $4 TRILLION worth of projects are planned or under way.

This vast, varied and challenging opportunity will be comprehensively reviewed in MEED’s annual Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) which opens in the Sofitel Hotel on Palm Jumeirah on 12 May.

More than 60 speakers representing all high-growth Middle East construction markets and the region’s largest  project sectors will address the event.

Among the highlights of the summit includes a keynote session on developing “Solution-based Delivery Strategies for the Region’s Complex Construction Projects. Dr. Faysal Alaquil, Director, Department of Business Development & CSR, Construction Products Holding Company (CPC) of Saudi Arabia, a Strategic Partner of the event, says the complexity of the Mega Projects either underway or in the pipeline requires contractors to design and execute to the highest quality standards available. “We will share a number of building solutions that will help transform these projects from concept and design to physical realities that are not only of the highest technical standards, but conform to sustainable and environmental practices.”

Across the region, there is a greater need for social and housing capacity. In the past six years, according data collated by MEED Projects, residential projects comprised 29 percent of total construction projects awarded during the period, followed by mixed use projects at 18 percent.

With real estate opportunities back to pre-bust days, meeting the growing demand for private residential and social housing developments will be of paramount importance. Imad Ghantous, Managing Director-Property, Hyder Consulting Middle East, says “rapid population growth will be a key driver of this continued growth in the construction sector, with a particular focus on residential and social infrastructure projects.” Experts currently estimate that the region’s population is expected to grow to more than 600 million by 2030, from around 340 million today.

Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest project market which is expected to witness more than $70bn of projects awarded in 2014, will once again be at the heart of the conference. Speakers will review the trends in the Kingdom’s construction industry and evaluate the opportunities in energy, water, rail, port and real estate markets. Special attention will be paid to the remarkable King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh where one of the world’s largest new ports started operations earlier this year, and progress on the Jeddah Kingdom Tower, the world’s tallest building, and the supporting development. A special presentation will be delivered by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the largest new airport client in the Middle East.

The UAE will get special attention as investment in the federation starts in the race to the opening of the World Expo in Dubai. More than $100bn worth of new projects are on the agenda for the Emirate which expects 25m people to visit the six-month expo. The conference will review some of the largest real estate developments in Dubai including exciting projects being developed by Meraas Holdings.

Other markets to be reviewed will include Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt where 40 Mega Projects worth more than $500m are planned or under way.

The challenge of delivering complex, multi-component Mega Projects will be one of the key themes of AWCS 2014. Regional and global experts in Mega Project delivery and the role high-level program management can play in bringing Mega Projects in on time and budget will be among the primary topics of the event.

“The AWCS was launched in 2007 and is established as the premier annual event for major clients and senior construction industry executives working in the Middle East Mega Project market,” says MEED Events Chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “This year, the delegates will learn about the widest range of new projects and construction opportunities since the first AWCS opened seven years ago. I’m confident they will leave inspired to intensify their efforts across the region.”

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS has been able to enlist the support of CPC and HSBC as Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Deloitte as Knowledge Partner and EC Harris as Lunch Sponsor.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oman Comes On Strong With New Salalah Rotana Resort

The five-star Salalah Rotana Resort is now officially opened in the capital of the southern Omani province of Dhofar. The stunning 400 room waterfront resort, part of the company’s steadily expanding Rotana Resorts, is the Sultante’s largest free-standing hotel in Oman.

“We pride ourselves in identifying desirable travel destinations and are excited to begin a new journey today at the first hotel to be operated by Rotana in Oman. Not only does it take us one step closer to reaching our ultimate vision but it has strengthened the company’s standing as the leading hotel management company in the region,” stated Omer Kaddouri, President & CEO of Rotana.

Set on the pristine Arabian coast only a stone’s throw from the famous Salalah Beach, each of the resort’s luxury rooms and suites are positioned directly on unique lagoons or nestled around water features and an elaborate network of man made waterways which connect the property to the Indian Ocean and which are filled with 105,000m2 of seawater refreshed every four days using natural tidal patterns.

Salalah Rotana Resort sits at one with nature, and has been designed to offer guests a distinctive sense of calm. Drawing inspiration from the landscape’s natural beauty and culture, the heart of the hotel boasts high ceilings and a central internally-lit handmade red clay dome complementing the wooden finishing and decorative mashrabiya latticework windows. The in-room furnishings have been carved from desert rock while Arabesque geometric designs and stone archways, constructed using traditional techniques, resemble a cathedral atrium.

Ranging from 43 sq meters to 143 sq meters, Salalah Rotana Resort boasts some of the most spacious accommodations in Oman. Private terraces or balconies, ensuite bathrooms and generous living areas in each room and suite allows for optimal privacy and superior comfort in a grand setting.  The perfect destination for every type of traveller, the resort’s wide variety of dining options range from casual beachside cuisine and all-day-dining to fine dining Middle Eastern and Western fare.

Guests looking to rejuvenate and rebalance the body can make use of the Bodylines leisure and fitness club and impressive outdoor pool or indulge in spa treatments at Zen the spa, Rotana’s home-grown spa concept derived from ancient holistic Asian philosophies, which includes eight single-sex only treatment rooms and blends natural Omani elements with holistic treatments and rituals including full body massages, facials and soothing wraps.

Business visitors will benefit from a superb range of meeting rooms and a state of the art Business Center in addition to an array of business and leisure facilities.

Whether socializing at The Beach Bar & Restaurant, relaxing by the poolside or spending time with children in the sophisticated playful Kid’s Club, Salalah Rotana Resort exceeds the expectations of the most discerning guest.

++ I am glad to see Oman developing their own kind of Mega Projects that fit perfectly with the overall environment of the Sultanate.

Here is a link to the Salalah Rotana Resort site:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Qatar Registers Second Highest Growth Rate In GCC Projects Market

Qatar’s projects market grew 26 percent last year, the second highest growth rate in the GCC, where project awards increased overall by 21 percent between 2012 and 2013, the first growth year since 2009.

The data was presented in a breakfast briefing at the Qatar Projects Conference, where a MEED Insight report detailed a comprehensive review of the GCC projects market from 2008-2013. The report said 2008 was a landmark year for Qatar, when over $22bn worth of projects were awarded predominantly by the construction and power sectors for megaprojects such as Ras Girtas Power & Water, Kharamaa Transmission Phase VIII, Barwa City Development and the Lusail Development.

Fast forward to 2013, Qatar maintains its momentum, awarding as much as $20bn on projects such as Qrail’s Doha Metro Red and Green Lines and several stations, which account for 41 percent of all projects awarded in the country.

Overall, during the period in review from 2008-2013, Qatar’s project market accounted for 12 percent ($96bn) of the total projects awarded in the GCC, for a massive outlay of an average of $16bn a year.

MEED Insight expects a robust 2014, with project awards estimated to range between $140-150bn. The outlook is also positive over the long-term, as GCC economies continue to grow and as the population explodes requiring further investments in infrastructure.

Challenges will most likely come from stiffer competition as contractors from Asia move to gain a bigger share of the market; and financing will play a factor in ensuring projects are not delayed.

Meanwhile, Elie Andraos, General Manager of Al Maysan, says the steady growth of the projects market is a great opportunity for heavy equipment and machinery suppliers. “Our participation in MEED’s Qatar Projects Conference 2014 is due to its importance in attracting local and international contractors. This conference is considered as a unique opportunity to display SANY’s heavy equipment and its proven reliability and quality in major construction projects in the GCC region. We are delighted to have participated, as it falls in line with Qatar’s 2030 vision in all aspects, particularly economic and construction,” he added.

Qatar Projects Conference concluded successfully, with optimism high among project stakeholders about the continued expansion of the projects market in Qatar. This year’s conference was supported by Samsung as the Official Technology Partner, Qatar Steel as Associate Partner, Mashreq and Global Building Solutions as Silver Sponsors, Parsons, Al Maysan and Larsen & Toubro as Bronze Sponsors.

Other corporate partners include Ibq (Gala Dinner Sponsor), Qatar Insurance Group (Lunch Sponsor), SEIB (Dedicated Partner and Breakfast Sponsor), PWC (as Reception Sponsor), HSBC (Masterclass Sponsor), Drake & Scull, ECG Engineering Consultants Group SA, Zurich Insurance and Hill International as Conference sponsors; and Shapoorji Pallonji as the Networking Sponsor.

Exhibiting companies include Al Jaber Engineering, ASTAD Project Management, International Aramoon Co Ltd as well as Salfo and Associates SA.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marjan Island Resort & Spa Opens in Ras Al Khaimah

Located on a private island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah, Marjan Island Resort and Spa opened its doors to the public this month.  Offering spacious and sumptuously decorated accommodations, the resort boasts a total of 302 rooms and suites with large balconies from which guests can view idyllic island sunsets with the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf right on the doorstep. All rooms and suites, designed in palatial grandeur and thoughtfully decorated with Arabian touches, feature exclusive amenities and advanced interactive multimedia systems.

Marjan Island Resort and Spa prides itself on being a true family destination with a superb range of facilities and activities for even the very youngest of guests, including an indoor-outdoor playground, Pirate’s Club, Youngsters Entertainment Fun Center, dedicated children’s swimming pool and a host of watersports on the island’s two pristine beaches.  Visitors will discover a variety of delectable dining outlets on the resort’s 1-km seafront boardwalk.

Relaxation and wellbeing are essential elements of the resort’s vision, with an entire floor dedicated to the La’Mar Holistic Wellness Spa which houses separate ladies and gentlemen’s treatment rooms, Hamams, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, gyms and an indoor swimming pool.   Guests can book an appointment with a nutritionist or a cosmetic specialist, which forms part of the resort’s extensive wellbeing facility.

For business there is no need to leave the resort.  With a 250-person ballroom, fully serviced business center as well as a boardroom and various breakout rooms, executives and decision-makers will have everything they need to get the job done.

“I’ve been in the hotel business for over 30 years, and you don’t get opportunities like this very often, to work in a destination as beautiful and rewarding as Marjan Island - Ras Al Khaimah, managing a property as amazing as Marjan Island Resort and Spa,” said Roger Tannous - General Manager, a Lebanese national who is also fluent in English and French and Arabic. “I am thrilled to be working with Marjan Island Resort and Spa’s management and owners. This resort is a one-of-a-kind, offering families a complete immersion in an authentic, intimate Arabian experience soaking up the culture, hospitality, tranquility and stunning surroundings, and that remains truer today than ever before.”

“We already have such an incredible property, the type of place where you can spend a week and not go out at all, just soaking up the cultural experience and one of the regions’ biggest spas, fine restaurants and lavish guest rooms,” said Khalid Motik – EAM Marjan Island Resort & Spa.

“We are confident that now is the time to bring Marjan Island Resort and Spa Ras Al Khaimah to the world. We have listened carefully to what our customers are looking for and we have taken the necessary time to ensure the product offering is just right. It has been meticulously planned and we are extremely happy with the result.” Mr. Motik further added.

++ Marjan Island Resort and Spa is owned by Manazil Real Estate Group of Sharjah and managed by InnovationZ Hospitality Group, specialists in resort operations, and is located on a private island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. They have done a great job with the development of this Mega Project! Here is a link to their website:

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