Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Abu Dhabi luxury developer expands Moroccan portfolio with Dh571m mixed-use project

Imkan's new development Le Carrousel will include a mall, waterfront promenade and a five-star hotel

IMKAN is investing 1.5bn Moroccan dirhams in Le Carrousel a new mixed-use development in Rabat. Courtsey: Imkan 
IMKAN is investing 1.5bn Moroccan dirhams in Le Carrousel a new mixed-use development in Rabat. Courtsey: Imkan 

Abu Dhabi real estate developer Imkan is further expanding its portfolio in Morocco with a 1.5 billion Moroccan dirhams (Dh571 million) mixed-use project in the North African country’s capital, Rabat.

The luxury real estate developer, a wholly owned subsidiary of investment company Abu Dhabi Capital Group, is rolling out Le Carrousel, a 100,000-square-metre development along Rabat’s Atlantic coastline. It is expected to create 1,100 jobs when fully operational, the company said on Sunday.

The mixed-used project includes an outdoor mall with more than 120 retail outlets and restaurants and 200 seaside apartments. The waterfront promenade will feature shops and restaurants, a five-star hotel, and 12,000 square metres of office space. The company did not provide a timeline for the completion of the project or how it plans to fund it.

“The seaside destination provides a unique 360-degree experience for both its inhabitants and visitors. Le Carrousel is set to become one of the leading destinations in Morocco,” said Walid El Hindi, chief executive of Imkan.

Developers in the UAE are increasingly looking to expand their footprint outside the country, as the domestic real estate sector faces headwinds in the wake of the three-year oil price slump that began in 2014 and a slowing global economy.

An oversupply in the market has also lowered prices, however, the market is poised for recovery on the back of government initiatives such as long-term residency visas and fiscal stimulus programmes to boost economic growth and Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Le Carrousel will be Imkan’s second project in Morocco. The company has developed Villa Diyafa, a boutique hotel in Rabat’s embassy district, which was handed over in July.

Imkan’s move to expand in the Moroccan market comes as the African nation with a population of 35.6 million tries to boost investment inflows. Morocco, whose economy is projected to expand 2.7 per cent this year, and accelerate to 3.7 per cent in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund data, is vying to be among the top 20 tourist destinations globally.

As part of its Vision 2020 programme, the country wants to double the size of its tourism industry and generate 140bn dirhams in revenue from the sector.

The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, Ithmar Capital, is among the entities driving investments in tourism. It is also a sponsor of Wessal Capital, a fund backed by four other sovereign funds from the Arabian Gulf, which includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Wessal has two major real estate projects in Rabat and Casablanca and more are on the cards, Ithmar managing director Obaid Amrane, told The National last week.

Imkan is working on 26 mixed-use projects worth Dh100bn across the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Seychelles and Sri Lanka. The developer is boosting its portfolio of investment in Egypt with plans for a second major development as it begins handing over units for its Dh15bn Alburouj development in Cairo, Mr El Hindi told The National in August.

At home in Abu Dhabi, the company is behind developments including The Artery and Pixel, two mixed-use project in its Makers District master development on Reem Island; Nudra, a luxury beach-side villa community; and Sheikha Fatima Park, with retail and restaurant outlets.

In August, Imkan appointed China’s CNTC as the main contractor for the Pixel project, which will contain seven towers.

Work on the site will begin immediately and the project is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021, the company said earlier this week.

Updated: November 24, 2019 04:35 PM

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