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|12 December, 2018

Developer of Ajman's scaled-down Al Zorah planning five beachfront resorts

Developer in talks with investors over a 350,000 sq m plot at site entrance for possible retail use

Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah

Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah

Al Zorah Development Company/handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya

Al Zorah Development Company, the master developer of the Al Zorah project in Ajman, is planning to develop additional hotels and resorts and introduce a retail component within the mixed-use development, its CEO has said.

The 5.4 million square metre master development, launched in 2008, is an equally-owned joint venture between Lebanese developer Solidere and the government of Ajman.

CEO Imad Dana told Thomson Reuters Projects that the Al Zorah beach front has been reserved for developing five hotels and resorts of various sizes.

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The first phase of Al Zorah included the luxury Oberoi Al Zorah Beach Resort, which commenced full operations in the first quarter of 2018 and comprises 15 villas and 74 suites.

“We might also have some four-star hotels or even marina hotels but the beach front is reserved for resorts,” he said on the sidelines of a media roundtable on Tuesday.

Dana noted that the hospitality component of Al Zorah accounts for nearly 25 percent of the revised master plan.

Earlier, during the round table, the Al Zorah CEO had pointed out that the project was “resized” in response to the financial crisis in 2008, with the developer returning almost half of the originally-allotted land back to the Ajman government.

“We turned the project from a residential one into a resort and coastal destination,” he said. “We changed the usage, reduced the built-up area. It is a different project now, one that is more soft, more open, and low-rise.”

In May 2017, hospitality news website hoteliermiddleeast.com had reported that construction has started on Al Zorah’s second hotel which would be operated by Mauritius-based Lux Resorts & Hotels. The 193-key hotel was designed by Kuala Lumpur-based architect Jean-Michel Gathy.

However, construction activity has since slowed on the site, as was observed during a site visit, which preceded the media round table.

In response to a specific query from Thomson Reuters Projects about the project’s status during the round table, Solidere International COO Oussama Kabbani had confirmed that the Al Zorah is in “discussions with several investors,” to revive the project. Lux Resorts has said on its website that the resort will open its doors by summer 2021.

Dana said the company has been approached by investors for developing a 350,000 square metre site near the entry point to the development facing the Al Ittihad Road. He didn’t elaborate on the plans but said it would have a significant retail component.

In 2018, Al Zorah announced the completion of infrastructure facilities at a cost of over 700 million UAE dirhams ($190.6 million), the handover of 29 villas, and the opening of Marina 1 - the first of four marinas planned for the master development, according to a fact sheet distributed to the media.

(Reporting by Anoop Menon; Editing by Michael Fahy)

(anoop.menon@refinitiv.com)

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