x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai’s Arabtec wins Dh5.7 billion construction contract for Star Trek resort

The Red Sea Astrarium project will house four hotels catering for 2,000 rooms, in addition to a water park, '4D cinema', and 'Star Trek-themed immersive experience', according to a release posted on the Dubai Financial Market.

Arabtec Construction wins contract worth Dh5.7 billion to create an entertainment resort in Aqaba, Jordan. Wam
Arabtec Construction wins contract worth Dh5.7 billion to create an entertainment resort in Aqaba, Jordan. Wam

Arabtec Construction has won a Dh5.7 billion contract to build a resort in Jordan that will be home to the region’s first Star Trek-themed adventure ride.

The 74-hectare Red Sea Astrarium overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba will host four hotels providing 2,000 rooms in total and is intended to become a family-friendly tourist hub. It offers a water park, a theatre, and a “4D” cinema, according to a stock exchange filing.

King Abdullah II of Jordan is an acknowledged fan of Star Trek, and appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in 1995, four years before ascending to the Jordanian throne.

The Astrarium will include an artificial lagoon, which will be bordered by retail, dining, and entertainment areas.

The resort will be located in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, a multi-sector development zone founded in 2001 that hosts a number of private companies and has access to the Red Sea.

Construction of the resort is expected to start later this year, and is due for completion in 2017. Arabtec estimates that the project will add 4,000 jobs to the Jordanian economy.

Arabtec, which built Burj Khalifa, will work with the architects Callison and the entertainment company Rubicon Group Holding, which will jointly plan and design the development.

Arabtec’s Jordanian construction projects include the St Regis hotel in Amman, and the Saraya Aqaba development, a luxury tourism, leisure and residential project.

“We look forward to expanding our presence [in Jordan] to take advantage of [its] huge potential,” said Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, the chief executive of Arabtec Holding, the parent company of Arabtec Construction.

Red Sea Astrarium, registered in the Cayman Islands, is funding the project.

This order takes Arabtec’s order backlog to more than Dh40 billion

“Its high value and significant contribution to our long-term investment[s] … will translate in[to] sustainable returns for our shareholders,” Mr Ismaik said.

This contract is one of a series of recent commissions for Arabtec. It was awarded the Dh800 million contract for construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum last year, and a Dh2 billion contract for construction of a mixed-use development the Abu Dhabi Plaza in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Last September, Arabtec announced that it was launching a joint venture with the South Korean firm Samsung, to be named “Arabtec Samsung Engineering”.

The new firm will invest in oil, gas, power and infrastructure in the Middle East.

Arabtec’s largest single shareholder is Abaar Investments, which holds 21.57 per cent of the company’s equity and is majority owned by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company.

Arabtec Holding’s shares closed up yesterday at Dh3.48 – a gain of 3.57 per cent. They have risen 21 per cent since the beginning of the year.

abouyamourn@thenational.ae