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Sat 17 Mar 2007 12:00 AM

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Call for time-frames to be opened up

CEO of City of Arabia says that more flexibility in project delivery would allow projects space to problem solve.

The construction sector needs to get more realistic about project delivery times, according to the director of City of Arabia in Dubai.

Anwer Sher, a CEO of the project's developer, Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, has admitted that complications with infrastructure and the overall masterplan have set the venture back by at least a year.

City of Arabia is made up of the Mall of Arabia, the Restless Planet, a dinosaur theme park, and the Wadi Walk residential component.

Originally scheduled for completion in early 2008, the residential units of City of Arabia are now expected to be finished in the last quarter of 2008, while the Mall of Arabia component will not be ready until 2009.

"We have had some delays with the overall masterplan," he said.

"Another challenge was dealing with municipal approval for some of the buildings. We have a 23m dome [for the dinosaur theme park] on site and we want to use a material that has never been used here before, so we need to get approval. All these issues are behind us now and we are in the construction phase.

"But we need to bring some realism into Dubai. In our enthusiasm, we said the project would be ready in early 2008. But now the new timeline is pretty much confirmed."

The cost of developing City of Arabia is expected to reach US $5.9 billion (AED22 billion).

Middle East Foundation company has undertaken piling and enabling works, while Siemens has been appointed to install substations.

The main construction contract for the Mall of Arabia - tipped to go to a joint venture between ACC, Besix and Arabtec - is expected to be awarded soon, as is the contract for the project's residential element, Wadi Walk.

The infrastructure contract will be awarded this summer.

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