Al Mouj Muscat, a freehold waterfront community which is a joint venture between the government of Oman and Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim, is now almost 50 percent complete, the company’s chief executive officer told Zawya.
“The project is a mixed-use development, so we have hotel components and we are about to open two hotels by end of this year,” said Nasser bin Masoud Al Sheibani, CEO of Al Mouj Muscat. Speaking to Zawya at the recent Cityscape Global event in Dubai, he said: “The first one is Kempinski with 400 keys and the second one is Mysk by Shaza Hotels, which will be a 200-key hotel.”
Al Mouj Muscat is an integrated tourism complex that comprises residential, commercial and dining facilities stretching along 6 km of Muscat’s coastline. Previously known as The Wave Muscat, the project was the first real estate development in Oman to allow ownership by foreign investors when it was launched in 2006.
He said the project’s freehold status has proved to be advantageous when selling to potential buyers.
“We have been marketing it as far as East Africa, India, Iraq, and the GCC and we have seen 26 percent of our sales coming from those areas. So it has been very attractive to non-Omanis.
“We have a diverse community from different nationalities and we have a golf course designed by Greg Norman, as well as the biggest private marina in Oman with 400 berths. We also have ‘The Walk’, which is a destination with around 70 retail and dining spots, and we attract around 10,000 visitors per day,” Al Sheibani added.
In terms of ongoing development, Al Sheibani said that there are still residential elements to be completed, along with additional hotels.
“We are delivering a community hub that will include a kindergarten, sales experience center, and a mosque for our community. We already started the construction phase and it is set to be complete by the end of 2019.
“We have signed up with Rotana earlier this year, which will be the third hotel,” he said, stating that 60 per cent of the property will be serviced apartments, and 40 percent will be a hotel, which will add a further 250 rooms.
“The project is in detailed design stage currently and will be constructed within 36 months,” said Al Sheibani.
Oman’s residential sector is expected to see a growth in supply driven mainly by the hospitality industry, according to a report published by real estate consultancy firm CBRE earlier this month.
“This has primarily benefitted Muscat, with the construction of multiple new infrastructure and real estate developments, including the ongoing work on the long-delayed Muscat International Airport, as well as other projects such as the Mall of Oman and The Wave, which are designed to craft the ‘Oman brand’,” the report said.
Al Sheibani said that it is important to deliver features that are new to the Omani market. For instance, the company is set to complete the first public piazza square in Muscat, which he said would be a hub for events and entertainment activities.
“The Marsa Plaza is in the final stages of construction and it will be delivered by November this year. The concept is similar to Dubai’s City Walk with a square, fountains, screens, F&B units, and it is a meeting area where we will perform events on a weekly basis, attracting artists, local musicians and [entertainers] from overseas,” he said.
“The status of the real estate market in Oman, like many other areas, is challenging, but the country is putting in efforts to diversify the economy.” Al Sheibani said. “We are very optimistic about the sector, given that the Omani population by and large is young and there is baseline demand for real estate.”
Oman is investing heavily in its tourism sector, as the country aims to attract seven million tourists by 2040, according to CBRE.
Al Sheibani said that some of the new facilities at Almouj had boosted the profile of Oman through the fact that it has hosted some major events. The golf course at Almouj has hosted the final event of the PGA Challenge Tour – the second-tier European men’s professional golf tour. It also housed the event village for last year’s premier sailing tournament, the America’s Cup. This was the first time the America’s Cup had held a leg of its tournament in the Middle East.
© Zawya 2017