The Dubai-based developer Damac has been chosen by the government of Oman to develop the US$1 billion project to redevelop Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat.
Damac’s brief from the Omani government’s investment and development arm, Omran, is to transform the historic port into a tourist-led, mixed-use destination.
Port Sultan Qaboos had historically been Muscat’s trading port, but most commercial shipping activities have subsequently been moved to Sohar Port. This has paved the way for the site to be used mainly for tourism purposes by housing cruise liners. The redeveloped site will include Souq Al Mina – a market district next to the cruise liner terminal aimed at tourists – as well as hotels, restaurants, retail, dining and apartments.
Damac’s chairman, Hussain Sajwani, signed a memorandum of understanding at the site yesterday with the chairman of Omran, Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, who is also the deputy chairman of Oman’s Supreme Council for Planning. Oman’s minister of transport and communications, Ahmed Al Futaisi, was also in attendance.
Mr Sajwani said: “As the second-largest developer in the region and with a strong record of international experience, Damac is ideally positioned as the joint development partner of Omran.
“As part of its commitment to the project, Damac will contribute to the local road infrastructure, improving opportunities for local SMEs and Omani nationals.”
Ali Al Sunaidy said that Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront is based in the historic centre of commerce in Muscat, in Muttrah. The area is “one of the most visited tourist destinations in Oman”, he said.
“The redevelopment of the port by Omran will build renewed interest and focus to the area, while creating a strong investment proposition for the tourism, real estate and leisure industries,” he said.
The redevelopment of Port Sultan Qaboos is expected to take place over four phases, completing in 2027. The first phase is due to complete in 2020. Damac’s role is understood to cover the development of the entire project but it is not a direct investor.
Mr Al Futaisi had previously said that Omran would retain a 51 per cent share in the venture with the remaining 49 per cent offered to investors.
The venture is Damac’s first major project in Oman but it has delivered schemes across several other Arab states previously, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Lebanon.
By the end of March, the company had delivered 18,500 homes across all of its completed projects and had 44,000 more under development.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter