CapitaLand's wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has signed contracts to manage its first two serviced residences in Al Khobar, one of the main metropolitan cities in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province.
The 172-unit Ascott Corniche Al Khobar and 133- unit Somerset Downtown Al Khobar are slated to open in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the company said in a statement.
These latest contracts will increase Ascott's presence in the Middle East to more than 2,300 apartment units across 16 properties in nine cities in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE, it added.
Lee Chee Koon, Ascott's CEO, said: "In addition to these two new properties in Al Khobar, Ascott will open seven more properties over the next three years, in Dubai in UAE, Istanbul in Turkey, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Muscat and Sohar in Oman.
"As we continue to see strong demand fuelled by the growth in domestic and regional business as well as leisure travellers, Ascott targets to more than double up our scale to achieve 5,000 serviced residence units in the Middle East by 2020."
Ascott said that as Gulf countries continue to focus on diversifying their economies, more multinational corporations will be attracted to the region, stoking demand for its serviced residences.
Lee said: "In the last seven months, Ascott has opened four properties in the Middle East – its first property in Oman, Somerset Panorama Muscat and another three in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In addition, we have formed a $600 million fund with Qatar Investment Authority to invest in serviced residences and rental housing properties, with an initial focus on Asia Pacific and Europe.
"We have acquired two properties since the set up of the fund in July 2015. With these growth strategies, we are well on track to achieve our global target of 80,000 units by 2020."
Ascott recently opened Somerset Panorama Muscat and Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah, the first Citadines-branded property in the region, following the successful opening of Ascott Sari and Ascott Tahlia Jeddah last year.
Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh is due to open later in 2016. Citadines Culture Village Dubai, Citadines Al Ghubrah Muscat and Somerset Maslak Istanbul will open in 2017.
Four more properties are slated to open in 2018 – Ascott Culture Village Dubai, Ascott Corniche Al Khobar, Somerset Corniche Jeddah and Sohar Garden Residences in Oman. Somerset Downtown Al Khobar will open in 2019.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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