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Industrial cities bring in Saudi investments

AED 3 billion Emirates Industrial City in Sharjah is first of group’s projects

A group of high-profile investors from Saudi Arabia is in the process of forming a real estate development company that will build industrial cities in various markets of the Gulf and across the Arab world.

The Industrial City Development Company will be a holding company, will be established in a few months and is most probably going to be registered in Saudi Arabia, according to Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Zamil, chairman of the well-known Zamil Group. He declined to provide details about the capital of the company, saying that it will be a privately held firm.

Al Zamil said the idea to form the Industrial City Development Company was hatched by Al Hanoo Group, which offered the AED3 billion industrial city it is in the process of constructing in Sharjah as the first project for the investment group. “Depending on the feasibility, we are thinking of developing the next industrial cities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, probably Riyadh,” Al Zamil said.

The Industrial City Development Company is led by Al Hanoo Holding Co. Its Emirates Industrial City project will cost some AED3 billion and will be developed on 8.3 million m² of industrial land in Sharjah. “Until such a time that rules change, Emirates Industrial City is not a free zone,” Al Zamil clarified.

The city is located at Al Saja’a area in Sharjah and will be an extension to the already existing industrial area of the city. Development has started with 50% of the earthworks completed. The remaining part will be ready by early 2005. The project is to be completed by year 2007. Khatib & Alami are design consultants and Darwish Engineering is the contractor for land development and infrastructure. The project consists of four blocks forming a square. The first will include 2 million m² of pre-built warehouses, mainly for specialised logistics firms. The other three blocks will include 6.3 million m² of industrial land. The three blocks will be surrounded by a number of four-storey buildings that will be used for office, labour accommodation and residential purposes.

“We see Sharjah as an ideal and strategic location for this project. Considering that Sharjah has the bulk of the industries in the UAE, we saw great opportunity in being closer to our target market,” said Abdullah bin Fheid Al Shakrah, chairman of Al Hanoo Holding.

Sharjah is said to account for 50% of industrial companies operating in the UAE.
Al Zamil added that the group is in negotiations with specialist companies to manage the city. Al Hanoo began the project two years ago. The value of the property has appreciated 35% in the first nine months of the year alone.

“We will continue to invest in the GCC countries and expand to other Arab nations as a response to the need of each government,” said Al Zamil. ICDC plans to have strategic partnerships with the respective governments.

Industrial City Development Company is a consortium of developers, real estate and marketing companies based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia formed on the basis of the expertise of each unit. It is composed of: Al Hanoo Holding Company, which claims to be the largest developer in KSA; Al Zamil Group, the biggest industrial house in KSA; Al Habib Real Estate, a real estate investor; and Al Seidan Real Estate, a real estate marketing firm in KSA.

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