Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Top Oman Projects

Oman has a huge project pipeline estimated at  US$140.6bn. Following are some of the biggest projects currently planned and under execution in Oman:


USD9.1bn - BP - Khazzan & Makarem Fields

USD9.0bn - DRPIC - Duqm Petrochemical Complex

USD7.1bn - Duqm Development Company SAOG - Duqm New Town

USD3.0bn - BP - Khazzan & Makarem Fields: Early Development Phase

USD2.2bn - DRPIC - Duqm Refinery: Offsite & Utilities (EPC 2)

USD2.2bn - DRPIC - Duqm Refinery: Process Unit (EPC 1)

USD2.1bn - ORPC - Sohar Refinery Expansion Project

USD2.0bn - BP - Khazzan & Makarem Fields: GWES Facility

USD2.0bn - Supreme Council for Planning - South Al Batinah Logistics

USD1.8bn - MOTC - Muscat & Salalah International Airport Expansion

USD1.7bn - Oman National Railway: Segment 5 A: Sohar - Muscat

USD1.7bn - Oman National Railway: Segment 4 A: Haima- Amal


USD35.8bn - Transport

USD33.7bn- Construction

USD22.5bn – Gas

USD15.5bn - Chemical

USD14.7bn - Oil

USD7.0bn - Power

USD6.9bn - Water

USD4.1bn – Industrial

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gigantic 360 MALL Kuwait Commences Massive Expansion Project

>>Project includes the Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex to put Kuwait on world’s tennis map

>>Development of retail and entertainment space and multi-purpose indoor sports and entertainment facilities, as well as a 5-star hotel

The massive expansion of 360 MALL, Kuwait’s iconic shopping destination, has commenced through the development of the new state-of-the-art Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex, which will put Kuwait firmly on the world’s professional tennis map. The newly expanded mall with the tennis complex is expected to open doors by 2019.

The expansion will build on the huge success and identity of the existing 360 MALL with an added offering which includes sports, entertainment, a hotel, and additional shopping. The mall is owned by a subsidiary of Tamdeen Shopping Centers Company, one of the Tamdeen Holding Group of Companies.

The announcement was made at a press conference held at Tamdeen Group headquarters in Kuwait, addressed by Mohammed Jassim Al Marzouq, Chairman, Tamdeen Group; Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, President of Kuwait Tennis Federation, President of Arab Tennis Federation and Chairman of Asian Tennis Federation; and Anil Khanna, President, Asian Tennis Federation and Vice-President, International Tennis Federation.

Mohammad Al Marzouq said: “This will be the first time in the world that retail, sports and entertainment come together under one roof and on this scale. When the expansion work is complete, 360 MALL will be further enhanced and together with the tennis complex will become a landmark in Kuwait. We aim to promote the very best brands from around the world under one roof whilst simultaneously encouraging a healthier and more active lifestyle for Kuwait residents.”

Al Marzouq further added: “We believe that the synergy between the glorious game of tennis and 360 MALL, the premium lifestyle mall in Kuwait, creates an unparalleled experience. We are committed to Kuwait and to the development of tennis in Kuwait which we believe is a sport where the country excels. Through this project we will provide world class tennis facilities for the country.”

The expansion project will feature several new to the market retail brands, a signature five star hotel, in addition to outstanding restaurants, a ballroom, and a health club. The upgraded retail experience will leave shoppers with a multitude of new brands to choose from, while the hospitality and F&B facilities will create a new luxury paradigm.

The extension to the retail mall will increase the footfall by at least 30% to over 18 million discerning visitors. The tennis complex will have a combined stadium seating for over 7,600 people across two main arenas, each with the capacity to hold 4,000 and 1,600 people respectively, eight indoor courts with over 500 seats and eight outdoor courts with 1,500 seats.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Abdullah, said: “The Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex will become one of the world’s best tennis facilities in line with ITF and ATP standards, thus putting Kuwait on the world’s tennis map. We are drawing the best of designs from similar tennis facilities globally and will provide Kuwaitis with playing conditions that will match the world’s best.”

In order to enhance the “event experience”, spectators will have direct access to the tennis arena from 360 MALL, the 2,000 car multi-storey parking, and from the 6th Ring Road. There will be a seamless relationship between the mall, the tennis facility and the hotel.

Al Marzouq added: “The main tennis arena when not being utilized for tournaments will serve as an entertainment anchor for 360 MALL and provide a venue for leisure and recreation with a year long calendar of events and activities.”

Sheikh Ahmad explained: “Kuwaitis have a long history of tennis and we produce some of the top players in the GCC. It is time we showcased to the world our sporting prowess and infrastructure. Few facilities in the world offer such indoor tennis facilities adjacent to a fine range of outdoor courts. This is unprecedented except for the Grand Slam grounds.”

Additionally, the facilities will provide a base for a tennis club which will cater to the young aspiring sportsmen in Kuwait and give them a venue like no other. For young people, the location will have greater attraction because of the retail, entertainment and leisure opportunities in the immediate 360 MALL vicinity.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Al Habtoor Group Will Showcase New Neighborhood at Cityscape Global

As Al Habtoor Group is about to open the St. Regis Dubai, the first of the three super luxury hotels at Al Habtoor City this October, the Group will unveil its ultra luxury residential project, The Residence Collection, Al Habtoor City at Cityscape Global this week.

Al Habtoor City, a vibrant new neighborhood in the heart of Dubai, will be on show at the region’s most influential real estate exhibition taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 8-10 September 2015.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founder and Chairman of the Group, will personally welcome visitors to the Al Habtoor City stand (B10, Hall 5) from 10am on the first two days of the exhibition.

Al Habtoor said, “I am proud to state that The Residence Collection, Al Habtoor City is the epitome of luxury unmatched with any other project in the world. We are extremely delighted to present this unique, new luxury landmark in the heart of Dubai. Al Habtoor City will be an all-encompassing hospitality, residential and leisure destination in Dubai with unparalleled amenities.”

On display at Cityscape, visitors will be able to meet Chairman Al Habtoor and see details of the entire project, which covers a total built up area of 8.5 million square feet of hospitality, residential and retail space. It marks the Group’s first appearance at Cityscape Global as it establishes a strong position among the UAE’s leading developers.

The world-class development sits in an iconic location on Sheikh Zayed Road and the newly developed Dubai Water Canal. The City is integrated into the RTA network, which includes major roads, rail, as well as water taxis.

Al Habtoor said, “Al Habtoor City is situated in a prime location on Sheikh Zayed Road, within easy reach of the main landmarks in Dubai. It is close to Business Bay, and the Dubai International Financial Centre, Downtown, as well as the city’s major malls.”

The exclusive Al Habtoor City comprises three 5-star Starwood branded hotels (The St. Regis Dubai, W Dubai – Al Habtoor City, and Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City), three luxury residential towers, and permanent Las Vegas-style theatrical production by Dragone - the leading cultural creation company in the world. In addition, there is an array of retail and leisure facilities lining The Boulevard and the Marina Promenade, including boutiques, stylish cafés, signature restaurants, and a tennis academy with four courts, including an air-conditioned court for year-round play. The new community will also incorporate a supermarket chain, a clinic and pharmacy, and 5,000+ secure parking spaces.

Al Habtoor added, “The demand is rising for high-end mixed-use living. Today’s modern families are seeking integrated communities with everything under one roof. We have taken it one step further by incorporating three luxury residential towers with world-class hotels - each with a unique offering. Al Habtoor City is a one-stop destination. It is the first integrated residential, hospitality and entertainment complex built on Sheikh Zayed Road and the Dubai Water Canal.”

Residents will have access to Al Habtoor City’s world-class amenities, which include the largest swimming pool podium in the UAE, a state-of-the-art gym and access to the unparalleled amenities within the hotel complex.

++About Al Habtoor Group

The Al Habtoor Group is a UAE-based conglomerate. While best known for construction, it is globally recognized through its involvement in the hotel, automotive, real estate, education and publishing sectors.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Al Reem Island Continues To Grow

The approval of an overarching concept master plan, which brings together the individual existing approved master plans and sets out the developments and community facilities for Al Reem Island over the coming years was announced by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC).

The UPC announced its approval of the Integrated Concept Master Plan (ICMP) for Al Reem Island at a special briefing attended by representatives of all major developers on the Island.

Among the major facilities detailed in the ICMP are plans for 11 new private schools accommodating a minimum of approximately 22,000 students, six dedicated nursery/kindergarten centers, one university (Paris Sorbonne), three new private hospitals and a number of clinics, nine mosques, Civil Defense and Police facilities, a major transit hub, and 500,000 sqm of parks and open space, including pedestrian promenades for much of the Island’s coastline.

The ICMP will enable the Island’s developers to complete their own master plans, which will help the UPC and other agencies better manage existing development on Al Reem Island and ensure that future development is of the highest quality and meets current regulations and standards.

The ICMP is in line with Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision, providing for managed growth of market housing, commercial offices and retail space in close proximity to the existing central business district on Al Maryah Island.

It was submitted by Bunya LLC in December 2014, after working closely with the UPC and Al Reem Island’s key developers over the past seven years to create a plan that incorporates the objectives of the developers with the requirements of the UPC.

Bunya LLC, responsible for planning, executing and managing infrastructure and operations on Al Reem Island, was incorporated by the Island’s three key master developers – Tamouh, Aldar Properties and Reem Developers – to ensure delivery is well-phased and comprehensively delivered. Tamouh’s developments account for approximately 57% of the Al Reem Island area, Aldar Properties 20%, and Reem Developers 20%.

Al Reem Island will eventually be home to some 210,000 residents, up from the almost 20,000 that reside there now.

The ICMP covers the total land area of Al Reem Island of 8.869 million sqm, with a total gross floor area (GFA) of almost 20 million sqm.  Of that, 1.442 million sqm GFA will be office space, 873,576 sqm will be allocated to retail (which includes the upcoming Reem Mall), and up to 10,000 hotel and serviced apartment rooms will be available, along with schools, hospitals and other community facilities.

The benefits to Abu Dhabi are numerous.  In addition to providing for the managed and orderly growth of such a large area, the ICMP provides for the protection and enhancement of the North Bay mangroves and it facilitates a number of new transport links connecting Abu Dhabi island to other areas via Al Reem Island.

H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, the UPC’s Director General, said: “The integrated master plan for Al Reem Island forms an integral part of Abu Dhabi’s path toward sustainable urban growth in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and is a core component of Plan Capital 2030. The approval of the Integrated Concept Master Plan for Al Reem Island is a tremendous achievement and a major milestone for Abu Dhabi City.”

Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director, Urban Development & Estidama Sector, UPC, said: “We worked very closely with Bunya to get this over the line, and we’re very excited about what this means for the future of Abu Dhabi.

“Not only will the growth of Al Reem Island, one of the key areas of expansion for Abu Dhabi, be carefully managed, we are also ensuring that all future developments meet our Complete Sustainable Communities directives, to support the creation of more comfortable, liveable and sustainable communities on the Island; this is central to our mandate.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mall Of Qatar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 1, 2015

MEED Names GCC’s Projects Of The Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

ALILA Continues Oman Expansion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

RP Global Breaks Ground On AED 1.5 Billion RP Heights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Farglory Group's Maryah Plaza Development, Abu Dhabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ajman Mega Project Al Zorah Going Strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

++About Al Zorah Development Company:

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

++About Solidere International:

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mega Project Launched To Regenerate Old Medina of Casablanca, Morocco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Overview of 2014 GCC Building Construction Projects:

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

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

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

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

2015 Forecast:

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

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

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

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

Interior Fit-out Market:

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gigantic Dubai Mall Beats All Records!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nakheel Unveils Al Khail Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

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