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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Majid Al Futtaim inks deal to build $12bn Oman mixed-use scheme  

Madinat Al Irfan in Muscat to be built over 20 years in partnership with Omran

The IMF is urging Oman to implement structural reforms to boost private sector-led growth, increase economic diversification and create jobs. Silvia Razgova / The National
The IMF is urging Oman to implement structural reforms to boost private sector-led growth, increase economic diversification and create jobs. Silvia Razgova / The National

Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), the Government of Oman’s tourism division, and Dubai-based real estate developer Majid Al Futtaim, signed a joint venture to build a sizeable new district in Muscat with a development value of 5 billion Omani rials ($12.9bn) over 20 years, the parties said on Wednesday.

The joint venture will aim to develop the western area of Muscat’s Madinat Al Irfan into a mixed-use centre spanning 4.5 million square metres of land adjacent to the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre. The project, a part of Oman’s Vision 2040 economic development strategy, aims to create around 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in the sultanate in the coming years, according to Omran.

“The overall scale of the project is unprecedented, and directly aligns with the government’s vision to invest in sustainable developments to strengthen and diversify the economy,” said Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, the chairman of Omran.

Madinat Al Irfan is the sultanate’s largest urban development project. The eastern area close to the newly opened Muscat International Airport, is already being developed by Omran.

The joint venture with Majid Al Futtaim, will develop 11,000 residential units including villas, townhouses and apartments, 100,000 sq m of retail space, 700,000 sq m of office space, and several cultural and lifestyle offerings.

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It is intended to cater to all segments of the population and provide a blueprint for an integrated and sustainable community in Oman, serving as a new ‘downtown’ for Muscat’s urban corridor, the two parties said.

Majid Al Futtaim is one of the Arabian Gulf’s largest retail, shopping mall and leisure developers. The company is eyeing growth across the Middle East and North Africa as part of plans to double in size by 2020, its chief executive Alain Bejjani told The National in January.

MAF is already present in Oman and has built and operates City Centre Muscat, My City Centre Sur, and City Centre Qurum. It announced plans in 2016 to invest a further Dh5bn in the sultanate by 2020.

“Our long-standing commitment to this country has led us to invest 705m Omani rials and create employment opportunities for more than 42,000 people,” Mr Bejjani said on Wednesday. “We are Oman’s largest non-energy Arabian Gulf investor and a long-term contributor to the local economy.”