Aldar Properties has awarded a Dh4 billion contract to an Arabtec-led joint venture to push ahead with a long-awaited 500,000 square metre hotel, shopping and housing project in Kazakhstan.
In a stock market announcement yesterday Aldar said that construction of the five-tower project, comprising 566 luxury flats, 107,000 sq metres of offices, a five-star hotel and serviced apartments, and 50,000 sq metres of shops, would start "shortly".
The Abu Dhabi-based developer added that the project in Astana, the Kazakh capital, would be finished in 2017 - in time for the economic Expo 2017, which is scheduled to be held in the city.
The tallest of the towers is planned to be 320 metres tall comprising 88 storeys, making it one of the tallest buildings in Central Asia. The contract for Abu Dhabi Plaza in Astana's Special Economic Zone was awarded to a joint venture between Arabtec and the Greek-based Consolidated Contractors Group.
Aldar awarded the contract through its subsidiary Aldar EuroAsia and in its role as development manager.
The project was originally announced in 2007 as a strategic move for Aldar to gain a toehold in Kazakhstan, an oil-rich and quickly developing country. The development was originally expected to be completed by 2010.
At the time it was to be developed in a joint venture with Al Maabar, a company created by the Abu Dhabi developers Aldar, Al Qudra, Sorouh and Reem Investments. But like many other projects at a time, it was hit by the global downturn.
"The Abu Dhabi Plaza development is a vital part of a major development thrust for Astana and indeed the country as a whole," said Ali Eid AlMheiri, the chairman of Aldar. "It is testament to the commitment of UAE companies to support Kazakhstan as it pushes forward with its ambitious economic growth plans."
News of the contract win will come as a boost to Arabtec, which is currently in the middle of a rights issue.
Hasan Ismaik, the managing director and chief executive of Arabtec Holding, said that the new project brought the total gross value of contracts awarded to the company this year to nearly Dh13 billion, "which is anticipated to have a positive impact on Arabtec's performance over the near to mid-term".