Al-Suwaiket opens tallest tower in Eastern Province

Updated 06 June 2012
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Al-Suwaiket opens tallest tower in Eastern Province

The Eastern Province’s skyline is changing, and changing rapidly. The latest landmark, Al-Suwaiket’s SR 350 million, 46-story Dhahran Tower on the Dammam-Alkhobar Highway, was opened on Monday.
Al-Suwaiket Group Chairman Mubarak Al-Suwaiket and his sons, Abdullah and Abdul Aziz, personally received a number of high-ranking businessmen and executives at the soft opening ceremony.
The property belongs to the Alkhobar-based construction magnate Mubarak Al-Suwaiket who is frequently featured among the richest Saudi businessmen. At SR 19.5 billion, he was listed at No. 9 in Arabian Business’ Saudi Rich List 2012.
“Thank you, I am very happy,” he told Arab News yesterday.
His son, Abdullah, who operates as the group’s chief executive officer, said: “There are a number of important elements associated with this landmark building; the most important aspect is that it has 46 stories and a helipad, it is the tallest tower in the Eastern Province; it is a purely residential building with no commercial offices, and is meant to cater to the high-end market.”
Although the exact height of the tower could not be ascertained, a well-informed company executive said that each floor has a minimum height of four meters.
“Since we have 46 floors; so you can do the calculations; to me, the height of the building is close to 200 meters,” he said.
Abdullah Al-Suwaiket estimated the total cost of the project at SR 350 million.
“This is Manhattan-style of living; we have in this tower 291 apartments; some are two-bedroom while others are three-bedroom apartments. From the sixth floor to the 34th floor, we have two-bedroom apartments and from the 35th floor to the 44th, we have three-bedroom apartments,” he said.
In a country where the high-end customers prefer villas to apartments, will the Manhattan-style concept of apartments succeed? According to Abdullah, it is going to be a challenge.
“But we have taken risks in the past and succeeded; we are looking at corporate houses and multinationals who need to provide a high style of living to their employees,” he said.
“And also please do remember that our Euro Village was the first compound in the Eastern Province; it then became the benchmark for housing compounds,” he said. “So, InshaAllah, we hope to succeed with this one.”
Dhahran Tower General Manager Ioannis Iltsidis, a Greek national, and Al-Suwaiket’s Euro Village General Manager A.Y. George took the guests around the massive and plush property.
“This is no less than a five-star hotel. All apartments are fully furnished in the most luxurious style,” said Iltsidis.
“Then you have 24-hour fool-proof security, spa, jacuzzi and hamam facilities, both for men and women, on the 5th floor; concierge service, housekeeping service, everything that one can ask for is here,” said George who as Euro Village manager for 26 years has immense experience about market preference.
“All apartments have separate cooling features.”
The apartments will be available on an annual rental basis.
“The rent for the two-bedroom apartments will in the range of SR105,000 to SR120,000 per year depending on the floor and the view. The three-bedroom apartment’s rent will be in the range of SR120,000 to SR155,000,” added George.
The apartments are indeed luxurious and done in a very aesthetic manner. The panoramic views from the 35th floor of the highways and Alkhobar and Dammam are breathtaking.
The spot where the high-rise stands was previously known for the tepid DHL building on the opposite side. It will now be known for the Al-Suwaiket Tower.
The entire construction was carried out by Al-Suwaiket itself.

 


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.