Qatar unveils $2.5 billion Pearl

Qatar now has a landmark real estate development to rival those underway elsewhere in the Gulf.

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By  David Ingham Published  April 7, 2004

United Development Company has taken the wraps off The Pearl of The Gulf, a US $2.5 billion effort to develop a huge artificial island that will include 7,600 residential units. For the first time in Qatar’s history, homes will be sold to foreigners on a freehold basis. “We are proud to offer the first freehold properties in Qatar for international investors and look forward to welcoming the first residents in 2006,” said Hussein Al Fardan, chairman of UDC, at yesterday’s unveiling. “The Pearl of the Gulf has been designed to include all the latest facilities and services in an exclusive island retreat.” The Pearl will be located near Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area, close to the Ritz-Carlton hotel and not far from the city’s golf course. The island will cover around 400 hectares and include three bays and ten themed districts. Land reclamation work is scheduled to take just eighteen months. The island’s first residents are expected to move into their homes in September 2006 and completion of the entire project is expected in 2009. Up to 30,000 people are expected to live on the island eventually. UDC’s management is resisting comparisons with developments of a similar scale in other parts of the Gulf. Al Fardan says each country and development has something different to offer. What is noteworthy, however, is that freehold ownership by foreigners has been made legal by an Emiri decree. In other parts of the Gulf, the legality of foreign ownership of property is still in doubt. The price of properties on the Pearl won't be announced until May when the first units go on sale. The sources of funding for the project haven't yet been revealed, but UDC executives say both local and international banks have expressed interest in being involved.

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