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Emaar sees delay in giant Saudi project

Riyadh, December 22, 2008

Emaar Properties' Saudi affiliate will run slightly behind schedule for first deliveries of homes and business units at its flagship project King Abdullah Economic City, according to a company statement.

The first quarter of 2009 would see the first deliveries of homes and the first batch of industrial plots would be handed over in February 2009 in the mammoth project on the Red Sea coast, said Emaar Economic City Company (EEC).

When plans were first unveiled in December 2005, King Abdullah City's developers had expected first businesses and residents to move in within 2-3 years.

The city is central to Saudi Arabia's plans to diversify the oil-based economy and create much-needed jobs for a rapidly growing and predominantly young population.

The project been plagued by reports of possible delays, which have been denied by EEC executives including current chief executive Fahd al-Rasheed.

'2009 will see the project starting to bear fruits,' EEC said in the statement.  The first housing units will be delivered at the Bay La Sun Village development in the first quarter of next year, said EEC.

'It will be possible to move into and start business (at the
park in Bay) in the third quarter of 2009,' EEC said. EEC said it has completed the development of a 38,000-sq metres large industrial plot, a tiny fraction of the projected 6.8-million-sq metres first phase of the city's industrial zone, which once completed is expected to cover 64 million sq metres.

'The first batch (of the 6.8 million sq metres) will be delivered in February 2009,' EEC said.

 The company also expects to complete the first phase of the city's port by the end of 2011, which represents a 6-12 month delay from plans announced eight months ago.

'The first phase will be completed by the end of 2011 and will include a cargo transport terminal and another with a capacity of 1.7 million TEU,' it said.

EEC said in April that it expects the cargo terminal to be operational by end-2010 and the container terminal by mid-2011.

Dubai's DP World has joined EEC to develop and operate the port. EEC said it would increase the capacity of the port to 5 million TEU by 2018 and to 20 million TEU by 2030, which is 10 years later than the date that was set for the completion of all works at King Abdullah Economic City.

State news agency SPA said in June that the city has attracted investments worth 130 billion riyals ($34.7 billion), 30 per cent above the initial developers' target.-Reuters




Tags: Emaar | King Abdullah Economic City | Delay |

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