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Tameer enters Jordan with affordable housing

Jordan: Wednesday, October 31 - 2007 @ 13:28

The firm, not to be confused with Jordan’s own real estate outfit Taameer, has a string of major developments underway in several emirates in the UAE, including a whole host of projects in various stages of readiness in the construction feeding frenzy of Dubai. It has branched out regionally too and has a presence in Yemen and Libya.

A new city for Zarqa

Madinat Al Majd will be located on the Amman-Mafraq road, some 25 kilometres from the capital and just five kilometres outside of Zarqa, near to the Zarqa Private University. The development, which has been costed at about $500m, will cover an area of 20 million square feet and will comprise around 18,500 residential units – a step up from the 15,000 initially envisaged.

Tameer is working alongside Jordan’s Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) on the project and Sigma Consulting Engineers completed the master plan in August. The city will include a shopping mall, schools, hospitals, community centres and commercial units in addition to the mix of apartments, townhouses and villas.

The first phase of Madinat Al Majd will lead to 8,500 apartments, ranging in size from 700-1,200 square feet, being rolled out. Initial infrastructure work which totalled $3.6m has now been completed and Tameer has just signed a deal with a Jordanian contracting firm which will see 500 units built and delivered within 12 months. Tameer launched its public sales drive for the development during Cityscape and the firm said it ‘recorded high sales’ during the three days of the event.

Benefits of location

Tameer may be taking its first step into Jordan with this venture but it certainly seems to have done its homework with regard to location. Madinat Al Majd is not only less than an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital but it is also a stone’s throw away from Zarqa, a city that contains more than 50 per cent of Jordan’s industrial plants and is home to around 15.5 per cent of the kingdom’s population.

What’s more, the development is positioned at the heart of the government’s intended upgrade of the nation’s transport infrastructure. A 28 kilometre long light railway is to be built between Amman and Zarqa by a Pakistani-Chinese-Jordanian consortium at a cost of around $250m. The rail link may eventually be extended to Queen Alia International Airport.

One of the driving forces behind the rail project was to encourage more commuters to get on to a train and leave their cars at home, thus alleviating chronic traffic congestion on the Amman-Zarqa road. From Tameer’s perspective, with regard to selling residential units, it has picked a location close to two main centres of employment and offering quick and relatively stress-free journeys to work – at least when the rail project is completed.

Targeting limited income groups

Although Tameer’s project is large-scale and ambitious, the firm has not decided to pitch the development solely at the higher end of the market. Indeed, 70 per cent of all residential units will be geared to those on mid to lower incomes. The HUDC said in August that the Jordanian government will negotiate manageable home loan packages with various financial institutions.

There are now several sizeable residential projects in the kingdom which are intended for those with limited means and arguably the largest of all, the rather cumbersomely titled King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Residential City, is also being built in Zarqa.

This project will contain a massive 70,000 residential units and will house around 370,000 people once it is complete. The state-owned National Resources Investment and Development Corporation (Mawared) is the main developer but a number of other firms, including some from Saudi Arabia, have also become partners in the scheme.

Tameer to make its mark

Tameer Holding has emerged as one of the UAE’s major real estate developers and, considering it is competing in such a furiously competitive domestic market, that fact alone shows the firm is well equipped to make a significant impression on Jordan’s property sector.

Its Madinat Al Majd project may be set to take nine years to complete but it is frankly dwarfed by its involvement in the colossal $20bn Madinat Al Hanaa in Libya which will house 500,000 people and the $8.2bn AlSalam City in Umm Al Quwain which will accommodate the same number.

Recent government statistics have suggested sales of top-end units in Jordan have begun to slow up but Tameer, like several other of Jordan’s real estate firms, has seen where the market is now headed and, after hooking up with the HUDC, has primarily targeted its first housing venture in the kingdom at the segment of society that needs it most.

See also:
Arabian Cement firms up its Jordanian factory plans
Jordan’s real estate sector just keeps on running

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Wednesday, October 31- 2007 @ 13:28 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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