By Andy Sambidge
Construction joint venture says first apartments, hotel ready by Q4 in 2010.
AECO Development, the construction joint venture responsible for delivering the first phase of a new waterfront city in Oman, said on Monday that work was on schedule for delivery in 2010.
Al Madina A’Zarqa’s first phase involves the completion of a housing and welfare village to accommodate about 9,000 construction workers and managers.
Tamer Perk, AECO’s project director said: "The facility is a response to the transportation issues for staff getting to and from site, enabling more efficient use of working hours, through the implementation of a self-contained operation."
Simultaneously, the progress of the permanent project works are also well underway and on schedule, he added.
“The first apartments at Al Na’man and the first hotel to be operated by Anantara are on schedule to be completed by the last quarter of 2010,” said Tassos Naoum, deputy project director, AECO.
His comments come a couple of weeks after rating agency Moody's downgraded $399 million worth of bonds for Blue City to junk status, dropping from Baa3 to Ba1.
The agency reasoned that sluggish sales and a "less-favourable macroeconomic environment" could jeopardise the project to the point where "the borrower may find it difficult to continue funding the construction in the longer term".
Located on a natural peninsula close to Muscat, Al Madina A’Zarqa (previously known as The Blue City) is a 32 square kilometre waterfront city being built along 16 kilometres of shoreline adjacent to the Gulf of Oman.
When complete, the city will be home to 200,000 people.
Phase one of Al Madina A’Zarqa is a 2.2 square kilometre development comprising more than 5,500 residences (apartments and villas), three five-star hotels, an 18-hole golf course, shopping and entertainment centres along with other public amenities and infrastructure.
The Blue city is fast on the verge of becoming the modern day equivalent of the "Lost city of Ubar".