Author: 
Khalil Hanware, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2005-03-21 03:00

JEDDAH, 21 March 2005 — Following last year’s highly successful launch of freehold towers around Porto Arabia, the main marina of the Pearl-Qatar, the project promoter United Development Company (UDC) has released the second wave of harbor-side homes in ten, 20-story towers.

This $2.5 billion offshore, Riviera-style man-made island, covering 985 acres of reclaimed land, is Qatar’s first and largest international real estate venture, and the first to offer freehold and residential rights to international investors. It will create over 30 kilometers of new coastline.

“The first release of West Porto Drive towers sold out within a week and demand from institutional investors has been running high,” said Nick Bashkiroff, development director, the Pearl-Qatar. “We anticipate similar demand this time around as news of the project has reached the international arena.”

The towers overlook Porto Arabia, which will be an international yachting hub with berthing for 400 vessels, and the 2.5-kilometer La Croisette boulevard which skirts the marina and will be a centerplace destination for diners and shoppers.

“These will be among the most fashionable tower apartments in the Arabian Gulf and certainly the region’s most glamorous address,” said Bashkiroff.

The towers contain upscale apartments, luxury penthouses and elegant adjacent town homes which will be ready for occupation late 2006 or early 2007.

The range of one, two, three and four-bedroom luxury apartments, most with sweeping sea or picturesque views, come in six architectural styles — Monaco, Tuscan, Provencal, Florentine, Catalan and Andalusian — conceived to reflect the Pearl-Qatar’s Riviera Arabia positioning.

“Each of the island’s 10 districts is themed to reflect a Mediterranean lifestyle in the heart of the Gulf,” said Bashkiroff.

The Porto Arabia homes have been designed by Callison Architecture Inc. of Seattle. Luxury interior designs, utilizing the finest of craftsmanship and materials from around the world, were recently unveiled.

In all, some 30 towers will surround Porto Arabia, which will also have 60,000 square meters of upscale retail and restaurants.

“It will be a true leisure destination, the lively hub of the Pearl-Qatar, with homes for those who aspire to a Mediterranean lifestyle in a unique setting,” added Bashkiroff.

The Pearl-Qatar will eventually house over 30,000 residents in an up-scale, multi-cultural residential community which will be a secure and exclusive island retreat bringing the ambience and lifestyle of the Mediterranean to the heart of Arabia.

Qatar has growing inbound tourism ambitions with the Qatar Tourism Authority targeting tourism arrivals of 1.25 million in 2005 and Doha International Airport is undergoing huge expansion to cope with anticipated increase in passenger traffic. When completed in 2015, the new airport will be able to handle around 50 million passengers a year.

The four-phase development comprises 10 distinct districts to be developed over five years. The Riviera Arabia themed districts will house three luxury hotels, three marinas, with combined mooring for over 700 boats, and 60,000 square meters of luxury retail and restaurant space.

The Pearl-Qatar is being built 350 meters offshore the West Bay Lagoon area of the country’s capital, Doha. Whilst offering an exclusive retreat, the island will also be closely integrated with, and have easy access to, the capital’s thriving community.

Dredging work for the Pearl-Qatar is currently under way; the completed project build-out is due for completion in 2009.

The Pearl-Qatar’s developer, UDC, is the country’s largest private sector shareholding company with a mission to identify and invest in long-term projects that contribute to Qatar’s growth and provide good shareholder value. The company was established in 1999, with an authorized share capital of QR500 million ($140 million), was listed on the Doha Securities Market in June 2003, and is a Gulf Business Top 150 company.

UDC’s founders, who at launch held 45 percent of the shares, are among Qatar’s most successful investors and developers. A large number of Qatari and GCC investors are shareholders in UDC.

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