x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Ajman Government to partner Tameer in stalled development

The Government will help speed up the provision of crucial services, the lack of which have delayed the project.

Dreams on hold: Tameer's Al Ameera Village will not get off the drawing board for some time yet.
Dreams on hold: Tameer's Al Ameera Village will not get off the drawing board for some time yet.
Construction on Al Ameera Village, a Dh1.1 billion (US$300 million) mixed-use project launched in Ajman in 2005, has been suspended while its major developer, Tameer Holding, works out a deal with the Ajman Government.The Government will now take on a significant part of the project.

Tameer is believed to have encountered difficulties ensuring the development would be built with adequate supplies of water and power, which led it to cancel a Dh522m construction contract awarded to Al Rajhi Projects, a construction company based in Sharjah, last December. Al Rajhi had been hired in April of last year to construct 41 residential buildings, which formed an area of the Al Ameera project that Tameer had at one point intended to develop itself.

"We were supposed to build the first phase, and possibly the second," said Antoun Sarie, the chief executive at Al Rajhi. "But work stopped last December. I believe it was to do with utilities problems. It had a ripple effect on our business, as we had already mobilised all our resources and equipment."

A source at Tameer, who asked not to be named, said that this part of the project would now be developed by the Government, while the remaining land at the 500,000 square-metre site would continue to be developed by private sub-developers.

According to the original masterplan, a further nine residential buildings were set to make up Al Ameera Village, along with a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, sport and leisure facilities, parks and a mosque.

"The plots on which we were supposed to construct have been sold to the Government of Ajman," said the source. "The reason is the issue with water and electricity, which is affecting the whole of Ajman right now."

This is the second major project by Tameer in the northern emirates that has been disrupted because of problems with connections to utilities supplies. In May, the company said that its Dh30bn Al Salam City project in Umm al Qaiwain had been put on hold, again blaming a shortage of water and electricity in the emirate. But Umm al Qaiwain's Government, which has a 23 per cent stake in the project, is reported to have said that the issue of water and electricity was an excuse by the developer to justify setbacks and failures to meet its commitments.Hundreds of investors are still uncertain about the project's future.

Meanwhile, delays in connecting projects to utilities continue to blight new developments in the northern emirates, as local authorities struggle with power and water shortages alongside the rapid pace of construction. Several projects have had to rely on temporary power generators as they wait to be connected to power and water networks. But with 20 projects under way in Ajman alone, the emirate is devising ways of ensuring there is enough power and water to meet all development needs.

Earlier this year, the Ajman Government signed a Dh7.34bn deal with the Malaysian power producer MMC to build the Gulf's first coal-fired power plant, which in its first phase will have a capacity to supply 1,000 megawatts of power. There are also plans to build a power plant close to the Dh220bn Al Zorah project, the biggest development planned so far for the emirate. In addition, the Government has said that several desalination plants were planned.

"This issue is a priority of the Government," said Rami Dabbas, the director of Al Zorah and chief executive of another Ajman developer, Aqaar Properties.

A source close to the Al Ameera project said the fact that the Government was now investing in the project was "a further testament to its commitment towards successful development".

Senior management at Tameer declined to comment on the situation at Al Ameera Village, but said a joint announcement with the Ajman Government would be made soon.