x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Emaar in Saudi venture to build new community

Project represents a Dh26.4bn investment for Dubai developer which will include luxury homes and schools.

Abu Dhabi // Emaar Properties, one of Dubai's largest developers, has joined with a Saudi Arabian group to build a Dh26.4 billion (US$7.2bn) master-planned community near Riyadh. The new township, called Rawabi Rumah, will include everything from luxury homes and schools to healthcare facilities and retail strips. A centrepiece of the project is a 162-hectare date palm park and green area. Two grand mosques, each located in a park, are also planned for the development.

The project marks the latest partnership Emaar has struck with Saudi developers. Through its Saudi unit, Emaar Economic City, the Dubai-based property firm is also the main developer and manager of King Abdullah Economic City, a $50bn project to build communities encompassing 168 million square metres with a 35-kilometre beachfront, north of Jeddah with a new port, industrial zone, financial district and residential villages. "Rawabi Rumah will be an integrated development offering all lifestyle amenities in one neighbourhood," said Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties. He added that Saudi Arabia was "a major market" for Emaar.

In a separate development, Dubai's Al-Futtaim Group said yesterday that it planned to build a US$1bn (Dh3.67bn) residential project and mall near Damascus, the Syrian capital. Al Futtaim will develop a shopping centre, villas, hotels, apartments and a cinema on a 150-hectare plot on the Damascus-Beirut motorway in the Sabboura Yafour district, the company said. Al Shoala Group said the deal with Emaar was signed recently in Jeddah between Mr Alabbar and Prince Meshal Bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the owner of al Shoala and the chairman of Saudi Arabia's Bay'ah Council.

More than 31 million sqm has been allotted for Rawabi Rumah, with two-thirds of the land area slated for residential dwellings including villas, apartments and townhouses. The developers are now courting major retailing brands to set up shops in the development. Al Shoala said that the project, described as a "trendsetting development and a new lifestyle destination for the Saudi people," could create 25,000 jobs.

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