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Fashion district to be developed in Abu Dhabi

University of the Arts London will provide consultants.

Abu Dhabi // A "style city" featuring designer homes and a fashion district is to be developed in Abu Dhabi in a partnership between the Abu Dhabi Investment House and a London university. The project, called "Porta Moda", will be one of a series planned in the Middle East and North Africa. The developments cost US$7 billion (Dh25.71bn) and will include designer homes, hotels, cultural gardens and fashion districts.

Ground-breaking has already taken place on a development in Marrakech, Morocco, which will also house educational districts aimed at attracting and training up-and-coming designers. Representatives from the University of the Arts London will serve as consultants on the projects. The first work on a Porta Moda city for the capital was expected to start by the middle of next year, although the location and details of the project will not be revealed until land negotiations have been completed, said Suad al Bari, the public relations officer of ADIH. Similar projects are due in Tunisia and Qatar.

Harold Tillman, a fashion entrepreneur from the UK and the chairman of the university's Alumni Board will serve as a key member on the project's advisory board, ADIH announced. Mr Tillman became the chairman of the British Fashion Council this year, and his experience in heading the body in charge of organising the annual London Fashion Week will be a "significant addition to the advisory body, which will offer advice and expert opinion on the progress of Porta Moda," said Rashed Janahi, the managing director of ADIH.

Porta Moda Marrakech, located seven kilometres from the Marrakech airport, is expected to cost an estimated $400 million. The collaboration with the University of Arts London comes after ADIH announced earlier this year it would team up with Edifice, a Dubai-based design and project development company that has designed projects such as Legends DubaiLand theme park resort, Al Areen Desert Spa in Bahrain, and Entertainment City in Qatar.

Edifice will also have a prominent advisory role in the ADIH style cities. RTKL, a Washington-based planning, architectural and urban design firm, was hired to come up with the master plan for the Porta Moda developments across the Middle East and North Africa region. Dubai Infinity Holdings announced a similar, style-focused development last year named Isla Moda, which is to be located on one of the islands of The World.

The company has partnered Karl Lagerfeld, who has worked for the luxury fashion brands Chanel and Fendi, to design limited edition homes for the project. @Email:talramahi@thenational.ae

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