Al Futtaim deliberates over huge Moroccan project

The company is still waiting on government approval for the project

Dubai Festival City was one of Al Futtaim's first, largest, mixed-use projects in the region.
Dubai Festival City was one of Al Futtaim's first, largest, mixed-use projects in the region.

Dubai-based real estate firm Al Futtaim Capital is uncertain whether it will go ahead with its huge affordable housing project planned for Morocco, according to the company’s managing director.

Construction on the 700 hectare master development, planned for this year, has been put on hold whilst the company waits to find out whether it will receive government approval.

“A project of this scale needs government approval,” Mr Shehadeh confirmed in an interview with Construction Week. “We thought we would get approval earlier this year, that was the plan, but it is proving difficult to obtain.”

He added: “If we don’t get approval we will not be going ahead. When we start construction depends on this and on the market situation at the time. Even if we do get approval, we cannot confirm that we will definitely go ahead with the project.

“As yet we have not purchased the land.”

The news comes approximately a year after Al Futtaim Capital announced its plans for the development, which included financing and building as many as 40,000 affordable homes, retail and leisure facilities in Bouznika, halfway between the capital Rabat and the business centre, Casablanca.

The project was set to be the firm’s third, large-scale, mixed-use project in the MENA region after Dubai Festival City and Cairo Festival City, and in line with government proposals to cater for the growing demands of a middle income population in the country.

In a statement last June, Al-Futtaim’s CEO, Omar A. said: "By expanding into Morocco, we have a great opportunity to grow despite the slowdown in the global economy.

“There is strength, diversity and depth to the Moroccan economy and we see many good reasons to be confident about our investment. This acquisition gives us a foothold in Morocco that we intend to build on."

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