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Dubai: Ajman-based Al Zorah Development Company is in talks with a number of home-grown and international hotel operators to open properties in its lifestyle project Al Zorah, according to the company’s chief executive, Emad Dana. He, however, did not name the hotel companies it is in talks with.
Al Zorah Development, a free zone company, is a joint venture between the Government of Ajman and Solidere International.
Announced in 2008, the Al Zorah project is estimated to cost Dh60 billion. Covering an area of 5.4 million square metres, the project is being developed in three phases. It has five key districts: Gateway, Beachfront, Peninsula, Creekside and Golf course.
On why the project’s cost has dropped from the Dh220 billion reported in 2008, Dana told Gulf News in a phone interview on Sunday that “We have reduced the number of towers that we had [planned] in 2008 and introduced more low-rise buildings. We have now dedicated 60 per cent of land to open spaces and 40 per cent to development, including villas, towers and hotels.”
The first phase, which costs Dh2 billion, includes two beach resorts operated by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Lux Resorts and Hotels, featuring 110 and 190 rooms respectively, according to Dana. Once completed, the project is expected to feature six waterfront resorts and serviced residences, as well as hotels around the marinas.
The first phase also involves the construction of 42 villas facing a 1 million square metre golf course, which feature four and six bedrooms, covering an area of 4,800 square feet and 6,500 square feet, respectively. Additionally, a beach club and wellness centre are included in the first phase.
One of four marinas is likely to be operational before March 2015, Dana said.
The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 or early 2016, he said.
“The second phase is in the design phase now,” Dana said.
The second phase, which is likely to be completed in late 2016, will involve three serviced residential apartments offering 150 units in total, which will be managed by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Lux Resorts and Hotels, and a beachclub with residences.
Dana did not say the completion date of the project’s third phase, which is expected to commence in late 2016 or early 2017.
According to him, the project is expected to strengthen Ajman’s tourism sector.
“I think Ajman in the past few years has worked well on tourism. Many hotels are rising and operational today from the corniche side,” he said.
Ajman has 31 hotels, featuring 2,922 units and 4,660 hotel beds, with more properties expected to open in the next few years. The emirate has allocated 40 per cent of its 2014 budget to new developments, economic and social projects, according to a report by news agency WAM.
Ajman attracted 180,000 hotel guests during the second quarter of 2014, up from 120,000 during the same period in 2013. The emirate will see the new Ajman International Airport, which will give the added impetus to its tourism sector when it opens in 2018. It is expected to serve around a million passengers per year.
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Source: Sarah Algethami, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com