Emaar enters Syria and Morocco

UAE property giant launches two developments despite calls from the US to shun ties with Syria

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By  Sean Cronin Published  October 29, 2005

Emaar Properties has continued its overseas expansion with plans to develop multi-billion dollar projects in Syria and Morocco. It comes as Syria attracts increasing interest from retail and residential developers in the region despite mounting pressure from the US on its allies to shun ties with the country. The first project to be developed by Emaar is the US $500 million Eighth Gate, which will be the city’s first master planned community and will include mixed use residential, commercial and retail units. Syrian deputy prime minister Dr Abdulla Al Dardari and Emaar chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar launched the project last week; the Syrian government and Emaar also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a second upcoming project in the capital. Dr Dardari said: “This marks an exciting new chapter in the history of the world’s oldest city, Damascus. These landmark developments will set the standards for future projects planned for Syria.” Eighth Gate is a joint venture between Emaar Properties and IGO, the offshore investment and property development company, and sets in motion plans to develop a mixed-use residential, commercial and retail development in the Yafour area, approximately 15 minutes from the centre of Damascus. Emaar chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar said: “Damascus is undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world and it is a rare privilege to be able to contribute to its evolution. Syria has great potential for future development and is a remarkable location for Emaar to develop high quality real estate projects on an international scale. Syria is a key development market for Emaar.” The developer is also understood to be behind a multi- billion dollar project called Talal Damascus (Damascus Hills), which will be developed on a 5 million m2 site in the city. Other developers in the region have also drawn up advanced plans for investing in the country, including Kuwaiti investment group Aref, which plans to develop a new financial district in a suburb of Damascus. In Morocco, Emaar has teamed up with ONA group to develop a $327 million luxury residential golfing complex called Amelkis II. Work on the 1.25 million m3 site has already started. This latest announcement signals Emaar’s second move into North Africa, following its $3.9 billion Cairo Heights project in the Egyptian capital in August.

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