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Tue 5 Feb 2008 03:30 AM

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ACC lands record $190mn mall deal

Arabian Construction Company to develop a luxury shopping centre in Abu Dhabi's Central Market.

Arabian Construction Company (ACC) has set a new record for contract value in Abu Dhabi after the emirate’s largest project development firm, Aldar Properties, awarded it a 694 million dirham ($190 million) contract to develop a luxury mall in the city’s Central Market.

Aldar Properties previously granted ACC a 2.7 billion dirham contract to ACC to construct the Central Market Towers. This newest award takes the total contract value for ACC to 3.4 billion, a new record for the emirate.

The retail contract represents the final element of the 4.4 billion dirham mega-project to rejuvenate the emirate’s old souk, transforming it into a high-end shopping complex.

When complete, the mixed use development will boast an 88 story residential tower, a 58 story 5-star hotel, a 58 storey office tower as well as extensive retail outlet space, a business hotel and other features.

The announcement comes on the same day as Ronald Barrott, chief executive of Aldar Properties, addressed attendees at the Abu Dhabi Economic Forum, explaining his company’s role in providing supply to the thirsty Abu Dhabi property market.

A shortage of both residential and commercial real estate in the emirate has pushed inflation to record highs in recent years, with the figure reaching 9.3% in 2006.

Barrott suggested possible joint ventures between property developers and manufacturers of industrial materials as one way cost cuts could be passed on to consumers to lessen the burden of a skyrocketing cost of living in the emirate.

Aldar Properties has announced over $60 billion of investments since its inception through a $408 million initial public offering (IPO) in 2004.

Aldar Properties is heading up a range of developments in the capital emirate, including Al Raha Beach, Coconut Island, Noor Al Ain and the YAS Island project, which is to include a Warner Brothers and a Ferrari theme park.

The contract to redevelop the old souk represents the second time ACC have been charged with development of the Central Market, having originally erected the complex more than 35 years ago.

“ACC initially built Abu Dhabi’s Central Market in 1971,” said Ghassan Merehbi, chairman of the firm, “and we are very proud to have been awarded the contract for its redevelopment 36 years later.

Total area of the new development is approximately 700,000 square meters.

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