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Wed 14 Oct 2009 07:10 AM

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Saudi construction giant lauds positives of global downturn

Dar Al Arkan MD says economic downturn has 'positively affected' sector.

The managing director of Saudi Arabia's largest developer has said that the global economic crisis has "positively affected" the kingdom's real estate sector.

Abdullatif Al Shalash, MD of Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development(DAAR) - which this week announced plans for a $2bn residential project near Jeddah - said prices of materials "had decreased and the supply had become easily available at request".

"This has encouraged the contractors to increase their investments in this sector without any fear of sudden and an unexpected rise. This was evident in the increasing government engagement in developing giant construction projects in this right time where cash is available and cost is low," he added.

He said that the Saudi economy was witnessing its "most flourishing days" with the country's reserves exceeding the gross domestic product (GDP).

Al Shalash added that the company's Shams Al Arous project would include a mixture of more than 10,000 residential units with public parks, entertainment centres, shopping centres, offices, restaurants, schools, and mosques.

He said that the company was now discussing the project with the Municipality of Jeddah and hoped to complete the project in three phases over five years.

The first phase will involve the construction of 2,000 residential units.

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