Al Zorah, a mixed-use coastal development planned by the Ajman Government and Solidere International, the overseas arm of Lebanon's largest property developer, has been scaled back because of the economic downturn. The project was launched early last year, just months before the global financial crisis hit the UAE's property sector, at an estimated cost of Dh220 billion (US$59.89bn).
Al Zorah was to have been at the forefront of Ajman's aims to boost tourism in the emirate, where the collapse of the off-plan market has left many property developers in financial distress and investors struggling to recover deposits for projects that may never be built. Only the components of the project closest to the seafront, such as the downtown area, the hotel district and a championship golf course, will now go ahead.
"Given the current economic situation in the UAE, we decided the best thing would be to scale it down to the components that would sell the best," said Mounib Hammoud, the executive director of Solidere International. Al Zorah Development, the firm set up to develop the project, is 50 per cent owned by the Ajman Government and 50 per cent by Solidere, which has rebuilt most of Beirut's Central District.