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MEGA MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT

Oman awards contracts for $1.3bn waterfront project

MUSCAT, November 17, 2016

The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) has awarded two major consultancy contracts for the first phase of its ambitious RO500-million ($1.3 billion) Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront project.

HD23, a joint venture between Nadia Al Lawati, an Omani architect and owner of 23 Degrees North, and Harper Downie, has been named lead consultant and master planner for the project, while the UK-based Foster and Partners, an international studio for architecture, planning, engineering and design, along with the German-Omani Hoehler and Al Salmy will be the architectural consultants.

As per the contract, the 50/50 joint venture HD23 will ensure that 100 per cent of the project design is completed in Oman, led by Al Lawati. 

HD23 said it will embrace and mentor young Omani architects and recruit them based on Omran’s “Design League” initiative, which was formed to become the leading independent forum for architecture, design and urban planning in the sultanate.

Among other appointments, Blizzard Brothers has been selected to manage the first construction activity of Souq Al Mina, which will be a core public aspect of the development.

The mega waterfront project will be developed in over four separate phases, said top officials of Omran at an official launch ceremony of the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront in Muscat yesterday (November 16).

Phase One of the integrated mixed-use waterfront destination, set to be developed at a cost of $390 million, will transform the current commercial Port Sultan Qaboos area into a major tourism-based development, spanning a 64-hectare area, once its completed by 2020.

It will include business and residential zones, destination mall, six hotels (including three-, four- and five- star), recreation amenities, tourist attractions, as well as docking facilities for cruise liners and yachts.

The launch was held in the presence of Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry and chairman of Omran, Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, the Minister of Tourism, and Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications (both Omran board members),  along with other senior company officials.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Al Sunaidy sadi: "Our vision for the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront is to create a world-class waterfront development of outstanding beauty and interest that celebrates the maritime history of Muscat and showcases the very best of Omani culture, heritage and innovation to a global audience."

"Upon completion it will provide an extraordinary year-round tourism hub that is rich in activities, entertainment and experiences, and is accessible to all," he stated.

According to him, it will also provide a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle community that provides the people of Muscat a true “downtown hub” and that serves as a catalyst for the broader regeneration of Muttrah, and serve as an important platform for successful business enterprise and a stimulus for significant job creation.

Al Mahrizi said the mega waterfront development represents arguably the most exciting and high potential real estate project currently underway in Oman.

"In this spectacular and historic setting, we are confident that it will soon establish itself as a premier destination in Oman, and one of the most high profile and celebrated tourism infrastructure projects across the GCC. Not only will it enrich the lives of the local community, but will play a pivotal role in the growth of the national tourism industry over the next 20 years and beyond," he added.

Al Futaisi described it as a very exciting day for Muscat and for the expansion of Oman’s tourism infrastructure as an integral part of Oman Vision 2020.

"Today’s launch is all about explaining how Phase One will set in place the regeneration of the historic former port area of this great city into a true tourism gateway for the country, providing sustainable economic development and job opportunities for many generations to come," he remarked.

Omran CEO James Wilson pointed out that constructing the project was a challenging proposition but the success of that endeavour rests on how the project is established from the outset.

"Much of the architectural design will be concerned with providing low energy sustainable solutions that draw inspiration from the rich architectural and cultural traditions of Oman. The development will absolutely respect and complement the country’s rich historical context," he noted.

Scheduled for completion in 2020, the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront will integrate with and enhance the historical area of Muttrah, and combine traditional Omani aesthetics with modern technology, focusing on sustainability and harmony with the environment, he added.

"With its proud maritime heritage combined with innovative initiatives including, Fisherman’s Wharf, Waterpark and terminal to enable direct travel to Iran, I have no doubt that the development will quickly become one of the top waterfront and tourism destinations in the region, as well as a centre for excellence in areas such as education, the arts, culture and sport," he added.

The Souq Al Mina will become home for over 80 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), shops, restaurants and cafes.

Omani entrepreneurs will cover a number of verticals such as catering, retail, fashion, accessories, entertainment, decorative arts, crafts, textiles, design, furniture, jewellery, gifts, organic products – to offer unique products and services for locals, residents and tourists.

The Souq Al Mina area is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2017 and will be situated alongside a still functioning harbour for cruise ships and yachts, which will celebrate Oman’s rich cultural heritage with contemporary aesthetics, said Wilson.

Over 150 cruise ships are set to dock in Muscat in the next cruise ship season, as they come to experience a true jewel of Arabia, he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Oman | contracts | waterfront project | Foster and Partners | HD23 |

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