x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Work starts on Jordan's tallest buildings

In the centre of the Jordanian capital, work began yesterday on what will be Jordan's two tallest buildings.

View of Amman city.
View of Amman city.

AMMAN // Against a backdrop of limestone-clad homes set on a hilltop in the centre of the Jordanian capital of Amman, work began yesterday on what will become the two tallest buildings in the country. The Sanaya Amman project- the first in Jordan by Limitless, the UAE-based property developer - is scheduled to be more than 200 metres tall and add a combined 500 apartments to help alleviate Jordan's housing shortage.

Worth about Dh1.1 billion (US$300 million), the project is one of several international ventures launched by Limitless, owned by Dubai World, since it was established in 2005. The towers are to adhere to green building regulations that are set to come into effect in Jordan early next year, which will mean using wind power and water recycling in order to cut energy consumption by 30 per cent. The façade will also feature a limestone exterior, in keeping with local architecture.

"One of the most important issues is sustainability," said Saeed Ahmed Saeed, the chief executive of Limitless. "As much as we can, we will build this project using local products and resources. The buildings have been designed according to the local conditions - what can be created in Dubai cannot necessarily be created anywhere else." The dozen or so construction workers who gathered at the ground-breaking event were from the Jordanian firm Hisham & Brothers Construction, which will be working on the site's excavation over the next few months.

Limitless is also negotiating with local firms for the main construction, expected to last three years. "It is a little cheaper to build here than in the UAE, probably because labour costs are lower," said Bahaa Abouhatab, the Limitless' regional director for Turkey and the Levant region."But because the amount of construction is growing in Jordan, we're trying to make sure that we build within the current market prices so that we produce a product that people can afford."

Mr Abouhatab added that political stability in Jordan, its growing economy and location made it an attractive market. "We believe that we will create an icon for the capital - something that people will talk about," he said. The project is among 30 planned residential towers in Amman that are expected to begin construction by 2010. The towers are part of the National Housing Initiative, a drive by the Jordanian government to build 120,000 homes throughout the country for low and middle income Jordanians. Almost half the number of the planned homes will be built in Amman.

Yesterday, Limitless confirmed that it had made an offer of Dh1.8bn for one of London's largest property firms, Minerva. Minerva said its board would discuss the offer, which was issued on the condition of a financial evaluation and the board's approval. "We are now progressing with the due diligence stage," said Rebecca Rees, a media relations manager at Limitless. Other markets that the company has either announced projects in or is targeting include India, China, South East Asia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

"While we may face bigger challenges in these markets, our aim from day one to develop projects internationally," said Mr Saeed. @Email:agiuffrida@thenational.ae