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Sat 23 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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RAK and roll-out news

RAK Property's managing director and CEO, Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, sheds some light on Ras Al Khaimah's waterfront development, Mina Al Arab.

RAK Property's managing director and CEO, Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, sheds some light on Ras Al Khaimah's waterfront development, Mina Al Arab.

What stage is the Mina Al Arab at?

All the marine works on the project have been fully completed, including compacting and dredging.

Infrastructure work has already begun and the contract has been awarded to Darwish Engineering. The contract is worth US $95.3 million (AED350 million) and is for infrastructure work for the entire project.

The first contract has already been awarded to Al Hamra contracting company for an area called Precinct Four. Mobilisation for this phase is expected to start next month.

I'd rather not reveal the contract value for this section of the project but it is a small one as this is only the first phase of the project - there are about 200 villas in this phase.

About 70% of the landscape design has been completed, the design for the retail shops is also about 70% complete with designs for the hotels also being about 40% complete. We have nine five-star hotels and two eco-hotels. The development also includes 5,500 units including villas, luxury villas, townhouse, apartments plus about 1,000 retail shops.

The entire area spans 3.5 million m2 and carries a total value of about $3.5 billion.

And what's next?

Well, we plan to continue construction full steam ahead.

We are working on Precinct Four at the moment and we will then move on to precincts five, six and seven, followed by precincts two, one and three.

We will issue tenders for Precincts five, six and seven, next month. This is one contract and we are on the look-out for contractors for these precincts, but only quality contractors.

Have you tied up with any contractors already?

No we haven't. We will invite them. We will then assess them carefully; we look at their profile, their track record; we make sure they are a well-known company and that they will be able to handle this project and then invite them to bid.

When is construction expected to finish on the project?

To be on the safe side I'd say 2012, but that is the absolute maximum date. Part of the construction, however, will finish by the end of next year and people will even be able to move in. Precinct four will probably be ready by early next year.

Don't you foresee a traffic problem with only one access bridge for each of the two islands?

No. It has already been looked at and studied by an international company so we know it's not going to be a problem.

Why do you think Ras Al Khaimah is any different from Dubai or Ajman?

We don't think it is different. We complement each other but maybe there is a little bit of uniqueness in Ras Al Khaimah - we have mountains and a beautiful sea with untouched beaches.

So if it's not any different why would someone chose to live here rather than in, let's say, Dubai?

It's a matter of preference. Some would like to live in Dubai, some in Sharjah and some here. We're just providing an option. But if you look at this development, it's good if you want to relax and have a second home. It's selling point is that it will not be congested.

And how is that - will there be no tall towers?

Yes, there will be no tall towers; there will be no density. And it is greener than most other developments and is spread out.

It's more of a holiday destination?

No, not at all. I mean it can be a holiday destination as well because we have a hotel strip but the rest is for living and working. We have a lot of residential and office buildings near the marina.

Do you foresee companies moving to Ras Al Khaimah for work?

There are a lot of companies here already. If you go to the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), you will see hundreds have already moved there.

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