Analysis

Top 10 Gulf mixed-use projects

Ten of the biggest mixed-use projects currently underway

PHOTO: An architects’ impression of the under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Credit: Supplied

Jeddah Tower and Jeddah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
Project value: $21 billion

Soon to outrank Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building is the under-construction Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Crossing the 1km mark, the structure – formally known as Kingdom Tower – is being developed by the Jeddah Economic Company (JEC). JEC was established in 2009 to develop the 5.3 million sqm Jeddah Economic City, of which the tower will be the centrepiece.

Slated for completion in 2018, Jeddah Tower is being built at a cost of $1.2 billion and has the backing of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. It will feature a 200-key Four Seasons Hotel, 121 Four Seasons serviced apartments, 61 residential floors, 318 apartments and the world’s highest observatory space. The wider city project on the Red Sea coast includes residential and commercial units, offices, entertainment and tourist facilities, and water sports activities.

The overall project, comprising Tower and City, is expected to house 200,000 residents at the end of the first two phases.


Mohammed Bin Rashid City – District One, UAE

Project value: $5.7 billion (AED21 billion)

In January 2014, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated District One at the ambitious MBR City, a mixed-use, leisure and sports development spanning over 54 million sqf of freehold land a few kilometres away from the Burj Khalifa. District One alone stretches across four million square feet of land.

Jointly developed by Meydan Group and renowned Indian developer Sobha Group, District One will have 1,500 luxury villas as well as leisure and retail attraction points. The villas will be delivered in four phases before the Expo 2020.

The development, launched in 2013, is the first development in the MBR City mega-project.

Set for completion by 2018-19, District One will feature open and green space of city parkland, waterways, woodlands and a water park. It will also be home to the world’s largest crystal lagoon with 7km of lagoons and 14km of man-made beaches, alongside retail zones, leisure and sports attractions.

Sharjah Waterfront City
Project value: $5.4 billion (AED20 billion)

Sharjah Waterfront City is an AED20 billion ($5.4 billion) project being developed by Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Development. The mixed-use project, which will comprise 10 islands, is spread across 36km of coastline, with a total area of 60 million sq ft. It was officially launched at last year’s Cityscape Global in September.

Sharjah Waterfront City’s first two phases – comprising hospitality, commercial and residential elements – will be built at a total cost of AED9.35 billion ($2.5 billion). One of the highlights of the development will be a 1.5 million sq ft Crystal Lagoon water theme park.

The developer recently inked an agreement with Shaza Hotels, a Kempinski affiliate for the Shaza – Sharjah Waterfront City, a five-star hotel consisting of 300 rooms and 350 serviced apartments. An agreement has also been signed for The Dusit – Sharjah Waterfront City, featuring 200 hotel rooms and 200 serviced residences.

Diyar Al Muharraq
Project value: $3.2 billion

Diyar Al Muharraq is a master-planned city in Bahrain offering residential and commercial properties, hotels, schools and hospitals. The development’s offerings for local and foreign investors include commercial villa and showroom plots, residential building plots, light industry/logistics and warehousing plots.

“This is an exciting time for investors to participate in Bahrain’s flexible investment environment. Diyar Al Muharraq is perfectly placed to offer both commercial and residential opportunities for investors seeking to be part of Bahrain’s thriving economy,” says Abdul Hakeem Al Khayat, chairman of Diyar Al Muharraq.

The Diyar Al Muharraq development has been built in line with a set of environmental strategies and marine habitat enhancement schemes that encourage ecological regeneration.

The project will soon reach a milestone in its development with the upcoming opening of the $100 million Dragon City, built on 115,000sqm of land and set to become a re-export hub for Chinese-manufactured products. Dragon City will feature Dragon Mall, due to open by mid-December.

Omagine Project, Oman
Project value: $2.5 billion

US-based real estate developer Omagine signed a development agreement last year with the government of Oman for the $2.5 billion Omagine project. Omagine LLC, the company’s 60% owned subsidiary, will design, develop, own and operate the tourism and real estate project.

The Omagine project is set to include cultural, entertainment and residential components. The development will house a theme park containing seven pearl-shaped buildings, each approximately 60 feet in diameter; exhibition buildings; a boardwalk; an open air amphitheatre and stage; and open green areas. In addition, the project will feature a canal and an enclosed harbour and marina area, alongside retail shops, restaurants and hotels. Approximately 2,000 residences will also be developed for sale.

The project will be developed on 1 million sqm (245 acres) of beachfront land facing the Gulf of Oman, just west of the capital city of Muscat and approximately six miles from Muscat International Airport.

Bluewaters Island
Project value: $1.6 billion

Located off the Jumeirah Beach Residence coastline, Bluewaters Island, developed by Meraas, will feature retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment zones. The reclaimed island will be home to the much anticipated Dubai Eye, a 210m Ferris wheel being built at a cost of AED1 billion ($272 million). The Dubai Eye will offer views of the coastline and landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa.

Bluewaters Island will also host a boutique five-star hotel and varied residential options. There will also be a souk, encircled by a promenade featuring alfresco dining outlets. The Island is anticipated to attract more than three million visitors per year.

In May 2015, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) awarded a contract to build a bridge linking the island to the Sheikh Zayed Road. A footbridge will also be constructed to provide access the island from the JBR waterfront, in addition to a cable car service that will be available to shuttle visitors to and from the development.

Place Vendome, Qatar
Project value: $1.25 billion

Located in Qatar Entertainment City in Lusail, Place Vendome is a mixed-use development that will comprise hospitality, retail and entertainment elements. The 800,000sqm project will host two five-star hotels, serviced apartments, up to 400 different retail outlets and a central entertainment component showcasing attractions and special events.

Place Vendome, 11km from the centre of Doha, is developed by United Developers and slated for completion in the third quarter of 2017. The Parisian-inspired development will feature a canal running through it, creating an open plaza experience with cafés and restaurants overlooking the water.

The project is designed by AEB, and the main contractor is Qatar-based Construction and Reconstruction Engineering Co (CRC). Project management services are provided by Salfo, while MZ&P has been appointed structural consultant.

Al Khiran Development, Kuwait
Project value: $700 million

In March 2015, a Kuwaiti developer launched the $700 million Al Khiran Development, a mixed-use scheme at the heart of the Sabah Al Ahmed Sea City. Spread across 350,000sqm of waterfront, the resort-style project will include Kuwait’s first high-end Outlet Mall, two high-rise residential towers, a furnished apartments tower, a marina housing over 900 boats and a five-star resort-style hotel.

The 75,000sqm Outlet Mall, designed by RTKL, will house a mix of luxury and premium brands. The development will also be home to the Al Khiran Park.

“Kuwait is recognised as a country that has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes. It also remains one of the most underserviced markets in the GCC in terms of quality retail space,” says Mohammed Jassim Khalid Al Marzouq, chairman of Tamdeen Group.

“This is where Al Khiran will offer value, not just in terms of shopping, but an overall customer experience.”

Saraya Bandar Jissah
Project value: $600 million

Saraya Bandar Jissah is a $600 million tourism development being built on the outskirts of Muscat, surrounded by the Hajar Mountains. Construction work on the project, which is being developed in partnership between Omran and Saraya Oman, is making rapid progress, it was recently announced.

The luxury development will comprise five residential zones, a recreational facility, staff accommodation and two five-star hotels to be operated by the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.

Within a site area spanning 2.2 sq km, Saraya Bandar Jissah will feature 398 residential units in five zones: Zaha, Nameer, Wajd, Na’eem and Safa. Over 2,500 workers were on-site at the project as of late 2015, from firms including Carillion Alawi, Leighton Middle East, Towell Construction, Ghantoot Transportation and General Contracting (GTGC), Bumi, Drake & Scull and Wolf.

“I am pleased to report that overall project completion is exemplary, in line with the planned timeline,” says Mohammed Al Hadeethi, senior construction manager at Saraya Bandar Jissah.

Riyadh Walk, Saudi Arabia
Project value: $320 million

The $320 million Riyadh Walk development will be developed jointly between Raj Real Estate Company, a subsidiary of Al Rajhi United, and Saudi-based Baseel Properties. Covering an area of 137,000sqm and with a 650m façade, the project will be located in the Al Nakheel neighbourhood in northern Riyadh, 3km west of the King Abdullah Financial City. It will include a mall, boutique hotel and leisure facilities, as well as offices and cultural areas.

“This project is a major step toward upgrading the commercial mixed-use projects in the kingdom,” says Ahmed bin Abdullah Bakarman, CEO of Baseel Properties Company. 

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