Construction start for Damac-Omran's $2bn Mina Al Sultan Qaboos
Groundwork has begun for the waterfront megaproject in Muscat, the UAE developer said
Dubai-based builder Damac International announced construction progress on its Mina Al Sultan Qaboos project in Muscat, Oman, which it is developing in a joint venture with Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran). Groundwork has begun on the $2bn (AED7.3bn; OMR770m) waterfront project, Damac said.
In a statement, Damac said “extensive project planning and place-making research” has been implemented for Muttrah, the district that surrounds Mina Al Sultan Qaboos. This process, according to the Dubai developer, included third-party studies, technical evaluation, and traffic-flow analyses.
Demolition work began after the project’s masterplan was approved by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, with the joint venture preparing sub-surfaces for Phase 1 of the construction scheme.
The joint venture revealed it plans to develop an “on-site discovery centre” as part of the project within H1 2019. The facility, according to the Damac statement, will “enrich visitors’ experiences with the heritage of Muttrah” by using technology tools such as virtual reality. Mina Al Sultan Qaboos’s approved masterplan will also be displayed at the centre.
The cost of Mina Al Sultan Qaboos has previously been reported as $1bn (AED3.6bn), with the same amounted also listed on Omran’s website, and Construction Week has approached Damac’s media representatives for clarification. Construction Week has also requested details of the groundwork contractor involved with the scheme, and a timeline for when a main contractor will be picked.
Commenting on the project, Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, deputy chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and chairman of Omran, said: “The redevelopment of Mina Al Sultan Qaboos into an integrated lifestyle destination stems from His Majesty’s vision of transforming the historical centre of commerce in Muscat into a timeless and thriving economic hub.
“The first stage of this project aims to set the foundation for the transformation [and] enhance traffic management, while establishing the necessary framework that will cement local SMEs’ [small and medium enterprises] and Omani nationals’ progressive role within the project.”
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac and the joint venture, added: “Working closely with local stakeholders, and after extensive planning which included architectural studies and technical due diligence, we have moved forward with the preliminary work that will prepare the port’s conversion into a premium tourism destination.”
Wael Al-Lawati, senior vice president of international development at Damac Properties, told Construction Week at Cityscape Global 2018 that “numerous studies” had been implemented for the project by WSP and SSH.
He continued: “It’s been a year of negotiations, of studying the project, and of understanding what products would perform well in the market. We hope to be starting very soon on site.
“The project will be built over multiple phases; the exact number of units [to be built] is still being discussed with the government. Key to our discussions is ensuring that the roads can handle a project of this size.
“We’ve had numerous studies done by WSP and SSH. We are also contributing toward improving the roads at our expense.”