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Egypt high-speed railway contract likely by July

A contract for the high-speed railway in Egypt between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean is expected to be awarded by July, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat was quoted a saying.

The project will connect the eastern resort of Ain Al Sokhna to El Alamein, a town west of Alexandria, said the Reuters report.

The technical and financial evaluations of the project are currently under way, Arafat told Reuters at a conference in Dubai.

Construction will start this year itself, he said. More than 10 international companies are currently involved in the tender process, he said.


No plans to review Saudi 'expat fee', says finance minister

Despite complaints from the private sector, Saudi Arabia has no plans revise a new "expat fee" that was imposed in January on Saudi businesses that employ foreign workers, according to the kingdom's finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.

"There are no plans to revise any of the reforms that we have implemented," he said. "These have been modelled for an extended period of time. We knew what the impact is going to be."

Al-Jadaan dismissed suggestions that the government's fiscal overhaul - put into motion during the oil price rout - have become less urgent now that crude prices are higher.

Officials have introduced unpopular measures over the past two years including new taxes and hikes to domestic energy prices as they try to bolster non-oil government revenue.

"Fiscal reforms are not oil price connected," Al-Jadaan said. "We implemented energy price reform again at the beginning of this year despite the fact that oil prices have increased, so we are determined and committed to go on."

Senior Saudi officials are touring the US to drum up business and will visit investment banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group, Citigroup and Bank of America.


US consortium to develop giant mixed-use project in Riyadh

Chicago-based consortium Global Business Ventures has announced plans to build a multibillion-dollar, mixed-used development that could bring as many as 25,000 housing units and 1 million square feet of commercial space to three sites north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A consortium of US and Saudi Arabian business leaders dedicated to planning and executing large-scale community developments that align with the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, Global Business Ventures currently has the three parcels under contract. Together, they comprise more than 9.75 million sq m of land area.

Led by chairman Randall Langer, GBV comprises a team of US and Saudi business leaders whose combined experience spans various fields, including real estate development, finance, and architecture and design.

In partnership with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia), local landowners and other stakeholders, GBV is pursuing next-generation developments that seek to fulfill the Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan.

Langer recently joined officials from the US Chamber of Commerce and Sagia in Washington, DC for the presentation of a Sagia business license - the first step towards the development of the planned multibillion-dollar, mixed-used project.

"We are delighted to award this license and look forward to welcoming Global Business Ventures to Saudi Arabia," remarked Ibrahim Al Omar, the governor of Sagia.

"The unprecedented program of reforms being implemented in Saudi Arabia is unlocking an exciting range of opportunities for investors in the Middle East's largest economy," he stated.

"One of Sagia's strategic goals is to act as an advocate for investors, enable them to invest, and establish their businesses in Saudi Arabia," observed Al Omar.

"In its efforts to ease licenses procedures, Sagia has extended the license period for foreign investment from one year to a period of up to five years, renewable," he added.

A member of both the US Chamber of Commerce and GCC, Global Business Ventures has retained two global commercial real estate firms to conduct site evaluation and feasibility studies.

The pre-development design process, led by GBV Master Architect Scott Sarver of Chicago-based smdp LLC, is currently underway, with the goal of creating a next-generation development that realizes the shared vision of Sagia and the GBV team.

When complete, it will create a live-work-play community that is both affordable to Saudi citizens and sustainable.

On the new licence, Langer said: "We welcome the opportunity presented to GBV by Sagia and the government of Saudi Arabia to assemble a consortium of the world's finest companies to provide new and innovative housing projects to the kingdom."

"Sagia's outstanding support of our investments extends across all of the ministries to whom they have introduced us. It is very refreshing to be working with such a collaborative, forward-looking group of government and business leaders who firmly believe in the Vision 2030 plan," he added.

Steve Lutes, the VP of Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said: "Receiving the licence from Sagia's governor is an important step forward for GBV."

"It demonstrates their commitment to doing business and growing in the Kingdom. At the US Chamber, we hope more American companies will similarly deepen and expand their work in Saudi Arabia and pursue the vast opportunities made possible through the economic diversification of Vision 2030," he added.- TradeArabia News Service


Seef Properties unveils new mixed-use project in Hamala

Seef Properties, a leading real estate development company in Bahrain, has unveiled plans for 'Liwan', a mixed-use development project estimated to be worth BD50.2 million ($132.7 million).

The site is located in Hamala in the Northern Governorate, opposite to Batelco's main headquarters with the Eastern portion of the site fronting on to Wali Al Ahd Highway.

Liwan's unique features will further position the project as one of the leading destinations in the kingdom. The mixed-use project features a well-equipped health club, a vibrant pedestrian boulevard with tree-lined streets surrounded by numerous shops and restaurants with stunning views of the boulevard.

"Liwan was envisioned in 2016 and has been transformed into reality in 2018. The project comes as a result of our strategic efforts to expand our real estate investment portfolio, which will contribute to the growth of the national economy and the kingdom as a whole," said Essa Najibi, chairman of Seef Properties.

"We are confident that upon the project's completion, which is anticipated in the last quarter of 2019, it will elevate the kingdom's real estate sector, bringing in a new destination for residents and visitors. The new mixed-use project will also redefine and elevate the surrounding area, acting as a magnet for locals as well as tourists and leisure-seekers from across the GCC, furthering the kingdom's stance as an attractive tourist hub in the region. Liwan was designed to meet market needs due to its residential and commercial facilities," he added.

Liwan's open space will provide a setting for a variety of recreational activities in addition to a combination of luxurious restaurants, green spaces, stunning landscaping and pedestrian walkways, all creating a vibrant atmosphere in the area, with ample free car parking facilities.

Further commenting on the launch of Liwan, the chief executive officer of Seef Properties, Ahmed Yusuf, said: "We are very pleased to announce the start of construction work on the Liwan project. We have appointed Kuwaiti Manager Company as the main contractor responsible for the development phase. Once completed, Liwan will be the ideal choice for those who seek to be part of a lively community with an array of offerings."

"The project comes as part of Seef Properties' strategy to expand its asset portfolio which will positively reflect on the kingdom's economy by strengthening its retail and tourism sectors. It is designed as an urban outdoor mixed-use project with public landscaped spaces, all within a comfortable family friendly environment catering to all ages. Liwan is also designed to become the next real estate/tourism destination in the kingdom, further attracting foreign investments and contributing to the growth of the economy," he added.

The Liwan mixed-use project covers an area of 122,000 square meters and features retail outlets, restaurants and cafés, residential units, supermarket, cinema, a family entertainment centre and open-air spaces.\

Seef Properties established its headquarters in Bahrain in 1999 and is a listed company on the Bahrain Bourse. - TradeArabia News Service


Bahrain approves masterplan for 14-km waterfront project

Bahrain's Higher Urban Planning Committee has approved the conceptual masterplan for a large-scale waterfront development project stretching from the King Faisal Corniche in Manama to Muharraq.

The masterplan includes a detailed proposal to develop a 14-km section of waterfront between Juffair and the King Faisal Corniche, a Bahrain News Agency (BNA) report said.

The committee is chaired by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

The new waterfront development concept features a wide range of facilities for citizens and residents, including public beaches, walkways, green spaces, and restaurants, as well as cycling and running facilities, the report said.

The project represents the latest example of the vital role played by the Higher Urban Planning Committee in delivering sustainable urban development and expanding public facilities to meet citizens' aspirations, in line with HM King Hamad's vision, said the report.

The Higher Urban Planning Committee has prioritised the waterfront masterplan as an important opportunity to integrate Bahrain's natural environment within modern, high quality development, it said.


British firm to build aquarium at Mall of Dilmunia

British design firm ELSS Engineering, a specialist in large-scale aquarium design, installation and management, has won a multi-million-dollar contract to build an aquarium at an upcoming mall in Bahrain, a report said.

The 17-m-high shark and fish aquarium will be one of the highlights of the Mall of Dilmunia, located in the heart of Dilmunia Island within the Muharraq Governorate.

The contract covers the complete design, installation and five-year management of the aquarium that will have black-tipped sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays and a range of smaller tropical fish, which the company will also source for its client, said the report in Belfast Telegraph.

The aquarium, one of the main family entertainment features of the mall, will contain some 700,000 litres of water.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), a UK government department that provides finance and support for UK exporters, worked with ELSS and the Bank of Ireland in order to secure the deal, the report said.

The mall will have a total built-up area of 125,000 sq m and a gross leasable area of 47,300 sq m.

The cylindrical aquarium is meant to mesmerise visitors from each level of the mall. The mall will also have a state-of-the-art large indoor ice rink built on the first floor, and three more concepts yet to be revealed.

The main contractor for the project is Cyprus Cybarco Tabet JV and the international architectural design is by DP Architects. The target opening date is October 2019.


Fourth phase of Kuwait's The Avenues mall opens

The fourth phase of Kuwait's The Avenues mall was opened on Thursday, at a function attended and patronised by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Sheikh Jaber was welcomed at the ceremony venue by Mohammad Abdulaziz Al-Shayea, board chairman of Al-Mabani Company, owner of the complex, a Kuna report said.

The Prime Minister toured the facility's various sections.

In a press statement, Sheikh Jaber hailed the new developments in The Avenues, adding that Kuwait is proud of this project.

He also stressed on the importance of such projects, executed by the private sector in attracting foreign investments and boosting the country's development plan.


Kuwait mulls new $12bn mega airport

Kuwait is considering building a new $12-billion world-class mega airport to meet the rapid growth in air traffic, a senior official said.

Directorate general of civil aviation Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah was quoted by state news agency Kuna as saying the government is studying putting up a tender for a new airport with a capacity of 25 million passengers a year.

Sheikh Salman was speaking at the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 (KIF2018).

"Taking into consideration the basic requirements for airport building, security and safety standards and weather, the new airport will be located in northern Kuwait," he said.

He said the site would facilitate the establishment of an integrated airport that would provide all transport and logistic services.

Sheikh Salman stated that the government would allocate the land and the private sector would build, operate and manage the project.

"Assigning such a mega project to specialised international companies would be an optimal way for achieving partnership between public and private sectors," he noted.

He forecast that up to $12 billion will be invested in the new airport, which would generate over 15,000 jobs.

He underlined that the new project would meet the steady growth in air traffic. "Kuwait will witness a rapid growth in passenger and cargo movement in the coming 20 years, so we study such projects," he clarified.

He stated that the Kuwait International Airport accommodated 13.7 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 17 per cent compared to 2016 and the volume of its air cargo hit 241,000 tons in 2017 compared with 195.5 tons in 2016.

"To keep pace with this growth, the DGCA has also revamped the existing airport through a number of projects such as the construction of the new passenger terminal (T2) with a capacity of 25 million passengers annually, scheduled to complete by 2022," he said.

Sheikh Salman added that the DGCA has also started the building of a new Passengers Support Terminal (T4). "Work on this project is proceeding according to schedule," he said, noting that it aims to ease congestion at the existing terminal at the Kuwait International Airport.

The T4 would accommodate about 4.5 million passengers annually and provide diverse services for travellers, he said.

The DCCA is also setting up two new runways and a new control tower at the Kuwait International Airport to enhance its traffic efficiency and safety, he stated.

He described the construction of the new cargo city at the Kuwait International Airport (currently in the first stage) as one of the most promising projects of the state development plan.

The mega city will be built on an area of 3 million sq m and is expected to be the largest in the Middle East, he said.

He disclosed that Kuwait is finalising a new civil aviation law to open the way for the establishment of new aviation companies in teh country.


UDC plans new island at Pearl-Qatar

United Development Company (UDC), the master developer of The Pearl-Qatar, will develop a new 300,000-sq-m island project as an extension of The Pearl-Qatar.

The new island will be part of UDC's QR5-5 billion ($1.51 billion) estimated investment for the next five years, said a Gulf Times report.

UDC chairman Turki bin Mohamed Al Khater, who presided over the company's annual general meeting, said the project will feature an aquarium-style water park, an air-conditioned outdoor boardwalk, a green park, and a waterfront retail esplanade "that will attract brands to Doha."

In addition, the project will have various real estate offerings, including beachfront and waterfront villas of different categories and independent islets, "all in a modern architectural design".

"This unique project will attract a warm, welcoming community whose residents are seeking an urbane and vibrant lifestyle," Al-Khater told shareholders.

Al-Khater also highlighted that UDC's business strategy remains focused on creating opportunities and partnerships, achieving growth, minimising risks and sustaining progress.

He said: "The board has astutely directed the company to progress the new opportunities that are being generated on the island so that UDC can continue to profit from the mutually beneficial relationships that businesses at The Pearl-Qatar naturally attract."

The Gulf Times report quoted UDC president and CEO Ibrahim Jassim Al-Othman as saying the new island project is expected to be completed "by the end of 2021". UDC will officially launch the project next month and construction work "starting in July this year", he said.

The island is expected to accommodate around 6,000 residents once fully completed, said Al-Othman said.

Al-Othman told the meeting: "The full development of The Pearl-Qatar is starting to take shape and glimpses of brilliance abound. These are very exciting times for everyone involved and I am confident that with continued dedication and hard work, 2018 will be a remarkable year for UDC, and another great step forward in our collective journey."

Al-Othman continued: "Major sales of land were concluded in 2017 with multiple developers for the construction of a commercial mall and mixed-use facilities. These sales demonstrate that non-UDC developments on the island are commercially viable".

He said the Pearl Tower 1 was now complete and ready for occupancy. This world-class office tower is in the process of being leased with 13,132 sq m, equivalent to 24 per cent of the total leasable area, currently under contract for 2018."

Key developments on the island that are currently in progress include Al Mutahidah Towers, Giardino Village, and Floresta Gardens (under design stage). Each of these developments is being designed with the specific intention of further enhancing and diversifying the residential offerings on the island, attracting more investors, residents, visitors and retailers, and sustaining The Pearl-Qatar's viability for years' to come, he said.


Qatar Rail receives first Lusail Tram

Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) recently received the first Lusail Tram after it departed Alstom factory in the French city of La Rochelle to Barcelona in Spain, to arrive on schedule after 18 days at Doha.

Once offloaded at Hamad Port, the Citadis train will head towards its final destination at the main depot where it will be assembled and tested as the company gears up toward the operational phase of the project. The tram will undergo a number of technical tests to ensure the highest standards of safety are met.

Abdulla Abdulaziz Al Subaie, Qatar Rail's managing director and chief executive officer, stated: "The arrival of the Tram marks the beginning of a new phase. Lusail Tram project is well under way; the work is ongoing right now toward the completion of the stations construction as we aim to deliver the project within the assigned timeline, underpinned by our commitment to deliver a modern and sustainable transport network for Lusail city."

Hamad Al Bishri, Qatar Rail's deputy chief executive officer, said: "We are pleased to witness this milestone which is paving the way for the next phase of Lusail Tram's project. We also would like to recognise the efforts of all our partners whom contributed to the successful delivery of this milestone and the logistic support received to ensure the safe arrival of the tram to its final destination."

The design of the Lusail Tram was inspired by "Al Mehmel", which signifies "The Dhow" - the old traditional Qatari boat used for pearl fishing. The design concept focused on the sea representing dhow pearl fishing and bringing in the calm, cool, elegant and tranquil elements of that medium to the design. All these features will be depicted in the design of the trams. Lusail tram will soon become the main transportation hub for the visionary Lusail City, the largest single sustainable development to be undertaken in the State of Qatar.

Lusail Tram connects to Doha Metro through two interchange stations at Lusail and Legtaifiya. The 35.4-km-long Lusail Tram network will launch in 2020. It includes four lines and 28 stations aboveground and underground. Progress on the Lusail Tram project currently stands at 73 per cent. - TradeArabia News Service


RTA launches taxi fare payment via smartphones

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, RTA, in partnership with Network International has introduced a new service enabling the payment of taxi fares in Dubai via Samsung Pay and Apple Pay apps on smartphones. Payment in cash or by credit cards will remain in place as well.

The new service is part of the 'Smart City' initiative of the Dubai Government.

Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency, said, "The service is aimed to offer taxi riders smooth payment options that raise their satisfaction and happiness. As many as 8,000 taxicabs are now using this Point of Sale, POS, technology, and we aim to broaden the scope of the service to cover a larger number of taxi users."

"This service, which is available on Samsung Pay and Apple Pay on smartphones, hits multiple objectives. It concurs with the Smart City initiative of our government, First Strategic Goal (Smart Dubai), Third Strategic Goal (People Happiness), and the Seventh Strategic Goal (RTA Excellence). Raising customers' satisfaction and offering them smooth customers service experience is also a priority to RTA as it adopts top global standards and edge-cutting technologies in delivering services," Bahrozyan concluded.


Dubai 'Wastenizer' will turn waste into 'good ash'

The Dubai Municipality has developed a plan to turn waste into energy, as part of its initiative to cut divert all landfill waste by 2030.

In 2011, each resident of Dubai was producing 1,700kg of waste annually. That's 4.65kg a day.

The cost is not only environmental. Dubai landfills cost Dh2.3 million to operate every day.

"The new project, called Wastenizer, is overseen by the Dubai Future Foundation and proposed to transform solid waste into 'good ash' that can be used as concrete.

It is part of a larger strategy to divert the current 3.5 million tonnes of waste that get sent to the emirate's landfills each year.

Implementation will begin in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the system should be operational in parts of the emirate by 2020, said a statement by the Dubai government.

The project is part of Dubai's 10X initiative, launched at the World Government Summit, where the government invited proposals that could help fulfill its goal of being "10 years ahead" of other cities "in all sectors".

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Dubai Crown Prince, has approved 26 projects, shortlisted from a total of 160 ideas.

Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi have pledged to cut waste by 75 per cent by 2021


Dubai starts work on fourth phase of solar park

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has broken ground on the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the biggest Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world.

This CSP project will generate 700 MW of clean energy and features the world's tallest solar tower measuring 260 m and the world's largest thermal energy storage capacity. The project will provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai, reducing 1.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year, said the Saudi-based ACWA Power, which is leading the consortium that is developing the fourth phase.

The start of the new project advances the UAE's global leadership in the use of clean and renewable energy, it added.

Sheikh Mohammed said that developing the UAE's infrastructure is top priority for the leadership and vital to raising the country's global competitiveness. The UAE is developing a new model for sustainability and innovation and is keen to find creative solutions based on international best practices and benchmarks. The country is a pioneer in transforming its energy sector to one based on solar power and clean energy, he added.

"We will continue pursuing ambitious investments with an emphasis on projects that have a positive impact on people's lives. Clean and renewable energy is key to sustainable development and the UAE has set an example for its rapid adoption," Sheikh Mohammed said.

"We have developed a sustainable infrastructure that will serve new generations. This infrastructure has been built by young Emiratis who will lead our country through the next phase of growth. We are proud of our nation's advancements in clean energy and green economy. The country is reaping the fruits today of the strong planning that we initiated years ago," he added.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied at the ground-breaking ceremony by Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, as well as ministers, and director generals and senior officials of Dubai government departments.

This CSP project, based on the independent power producer (IPP) model, will use two technologies for the production of clean energy: the 600 MW parabolic basin complex and the 100 MW solar tower over a total area of 43 sq km. This project, which features an investment of Dh14.2 billion ($3.87 billion), has achieved the world's lowest levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h). This is a new global achievement for the UAE.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director of CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) said: "I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for honouring us with his presence today on the occasion of this important milestone in our progress towards sustainability. This pioneering Emirati landmark has become a global model based on a vision. It anticipates the future of a nation that sees sustainability as a life-long approach, and a basis for its progress and pioneering achievements for generations to come. President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has affirmed his commitment to continuing efforts to conserve the environment and enhance the sustainability of our natural resources. This continues the legacy of our nation's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

"We are guided by HH Sheikh Mohammed's resolve and vision to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy; establishing the emirate as the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world. Achieving these ambitious targets will require more than 42,000 MW of clean and renewable energy by 2050. This project is one of the most important projects that will contribute to these needs. It has a planned capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030, with a total of Dh50 billion in investments, to accelerate the transformation towards solar power," Al Tayer further said.

"The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will provide Expo 2020 Dubai with a dedicated capacity of 464 MW of clean energy. This will be the first Expo in the world to be completely powered by clean energy. On this occasion, I would like to thank our partners in the consortium comprising Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power and the Silk Road Fund, in collaboration with China's Shanghai Electric as the main contractor, for their efforts and contributions in achieving our ambition to harness the sun," added Al Tayer.

At the ceremony, Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of Acwa Power, said: "We are proud to be part of Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 through this project, which extends our portfolio in the energy sector in Dubai and, thanks to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, proves the success and effectiveness of implementing projects based on a public-private partnership model. We have also demonstrated the success of our mission to reduce the price of solar energy and deliver the lowest tariff by implementing concentrated solar energy (CSP) at a commercial scale - thereby contributing to the reduction of reliance on traditional energy sources. The project also set multiple world records including the world's tallest solar tower, at 260 m and delivering the world's highest capacity molten salt storage unit - able to provide 15 hours of uninterrupted supply even without sunlight".

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of Acwa Power, added: "24-hour dispatchable cost-competitive solar energy that this project will deliver is not just a monumental step forward in achieving the goals of Dubai's Clean Energy Strategy but is also possibly the most significant contribution to accelerating the energy revolution across the world. The investment of $750 million Acwa Power is making into this project is also the single largest investment we are making in any project and thus a testament to our confidence in the concentrated solar power technology and our commitment to the long-term partnership with Dewa and the government and the people of Dubai."

"On behalf of Shanghai Electric, I would like to express warm congratulations on the ground-breaking of this project and gratitude to those who have been dedicating to making contributions in pushing forward the project. This project is by far the largest and most advanced concentrated solar power project co-developed by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Acwa Power, implemented by Shanghai Electric as EPC contractor," said Cao Min, president of Shanghai Electric.

"It's universally acknowledged that Dubai is a dynamic and charming metropolis and Shanghai Electric is privileged and proud to witness its boom and prosperity. We've sensed the trust from the client and turn it into momentum to cater to whatever the client requires us with strong sense of responsibility," added Min.


Palma Holding hands over luxury homes project

Palma Holding, one of the most prestigious names in Dubai's real estate industry, has handed over its flagship Dh1.5-billion ($408 million) Serenia Residences project on schedule.

Seventy per cent of the units have been sold and the luxury community is now welcoming its first residents to discover the ultimate in beachfront living, said Kareem Derbas, CEO and founder of Palma Holding.

"In line with our meticulous approach to timely project delivery, we are delighted to be handing over Serenia Residences on schedule and to the highest quality standards," he added.

"The development has generated an exceptional response on the leasing market, with many people already living on The Palm now gravitating toward Serenia Residences, as well as among investors seeking an ideal home away from home for weekend getaway and holidays in Dubai. We are proud to be offering them a beautifully finished haven of tranquil and calm in one of Dubai's most iconic locations."

"We are very pleased to announce the timely completion of Serenia Residences, and are thankful to all our business partners who have helped us turn our dream to reality. I'm proud to have delivered on our promise to create Dubai's most exclusive beachfront residences, and am excited to welcome Serenia homeowners into their new homes on the shores of The Palm Jumeirah," said Hassan H Nia, CEO of Banian.

Designed by Hazel Wong, the famous architect behind the landmark Emirates Towers, Serenia Residences is the only exclusively residential community on The Palm Jumeirah's Crescent. The 850,000-sq-ft development includes 250 units comprising one to three-bedroom apartments and penthouse suites, with around 70 per cent of the project dedicated to landscaping and amenities to ensure that residents can enjoy wide open spaces for recreation and relaxation.

Featuring contemporary architecture and layouts unique to The Palm Jumeirah, Serenia Residences' central theme is one of tranquil living, premium amenities and bespoke concierge services. The up-scale community project features the largest private outdoor infinity pool on The Palm, a lap pool, a children's pool, a play area, a state-of-the-art gymnasium and tennis courts.

Barbecue areas situated on the beach provide the perfect al fresco dining experience and complete Serenia Residences' ultimate beachfront living experience. Palma has also devised personalised premium services for the comfort of its clients, from interior design packages to everyday home management and handover services.

Since its inception, Palma Holding has completed over 4 million sq ft of premium properties in Dubai worth a total of over Dh3.6 billion. The group's main area of focus is Dubai Marina, where it has constructed iconic buildings such as Silverene Towers and the 'twisting' Infinity Cayan Tower, a landmark feature of the Dubai Marina skyline. - TradeArabia News Service


Azizi announces four big projects in Dubai

Azizi Developments, a leading private developer in the UAE, has announced a new residential project in Dubai Sports City as well as three new premium residential and commercial projects in Meydan Avenue, worth a combined value of Dh750 million ($204.1 million).

The developer's first project in Dubai Sports City, Azizi Grand will consist of 431 apartments with balconies, including 238 studio, 140 one-bedroom, and 53 two-bedroom units. Spread across 47,100 sq m, the building includes a dramatic architectural feature that resembles four towers merging into one. It also features two swimming pools, six panoramic view elevators, and two staircases. The project is located along the bourgeoning Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road corridor, and just minutes away from the expanding Al Maktoum International Airport and the site of Expo 2020.

Mirwais Azizi, chairman of Azizi Group, said: "As Azizi Developments' first project in Dubai Sports City, Azizi Grand is a reflection of our strategy to develop products in strategic areas of Dubai where neighbourhoods and communities will thrive. We are confident that Azizi Grand's modern design and superb location will offer a high-value proposition for long-term investors and end-users looking for strong returns."

Meanwhile, the new projects at Meydan Avenue will consist of three low-rise buildings located along the Meydan Road leading to the Meydan Hotel and Meydan Racecourse and Grandstand that offer character living within the new and upcoming vibrant Meydan Avenue community. The three individual complexes - Azizi Gardens, Azizi Park Avenue, and Azizi Greenfield - will comprise a total of 242 one- and two-bedroom apartments incorporating elements of open green spaces, including landscaped areas, parks, gardens and a waterfront feature that gives an aesthetic appeal.

Azizi added: "We are also proud to announce the launch of our third development with Meydan, reflecting the master developer's confidence in our development plans. As a construction-driven company, we are focused on developing community lifestyle projects in prime locations in Dubai, such as Meydan Avenue. Its proximity to the Meydan Grandstand in the midst of the racing hub of Dubai makes Meydan Avenue a prized opportunity for developers to complement the city's infrastructure and offers a great investment experience for future residents and investors."

Azizi Gardens, Azizi Park Avenue, and Azizi Greenfield offer a premium serene community lifestyle, with contemporary postmodern architecture including landscaped parks and gardens. Adding to the appeal is the projects prime location near the Dubai Water Canal, the Meydan Hotel and the Meydan Grandstand, with quick transport links to Business Bay, Dubai Mall, Safa Park and Jumeirah Beach Park. Encompassing a wide network of restaurants and retail outlets alongside a 500m waterfront boardwalk, the Meydan Avenue community offers an exciting and elevated lifestyle experience.

Each of the three projects will have distinctive features using natural elements:

Azizi Gardens
Azizi Gardens will consist of a total of 51 apartments, including 40 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units. The architectural team has conceived tree-inspired architecture to enhance the look and feel of the building. The building will be fitted with elevators that offer panoramic views of the internal courtyard of the building. The rooftop pool and gym will offer absolute privacy with distant views of major city landmarks close to Downtown Dubai. Azizi Gardens also shares proximity to the boardwalk canal feature.

Azizi Greenfield
Located closest to the prestigious Meydan Hotel, Azizi Greenfield comprises 96 apartments with 61 one-bedroom and 35 two-bedroom units and boasts a unique texturised façade and patches of greenery within the building along with resort-style landscaping and canopies. A courtyard with a shaded pool creates a luxurious resort-like vibe, while a 'Frame' design at the front of the building will add to its aesthetic appeal. Azizi Greenfield also includes all amenities, including the podium, gym, and pool and covered car parking.

Azizi Park Avenue
With 95 apartments, including 66 one-bedroom and 29 two-bedroom units, Azizi Park Avenue is a contemporary designed building, emphasising a modern approach to living. Designed as a C-shaped building, it wraps around the courtyard on the first level, providing residents with absolute privacy and a sense of community. Its proximity to the racecourse adds to its luxurious location appeal, while the retail within the building adds to functionality as tenants can shop without the need to leave the comfort of their home

Azizi Developments continues to offer the best community living experience and is increasingly focusing on creating urban neighbourhoods supported by investments in developing signature communities. The developer has also increased its focus on green buildings and sustainable developments in line with the UAE Vision 2021 which aims to achieve a balance between economic and social development.

Azizi Gardens, Azizi Greenfield and Azizi Park Avenue are the firm's third development in the Meydan master development, following the Azizi Riviera and Azizi Victoria projects in Meydan One and MBR City - District 7, respectively. - TradeArabia News Service

Azizi Gardens
Azizi Gardens will consist of a total of 51 apartments, including 40 one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom units. The architectural team has conceived tree-inspired architecture to enhance the look and feel of the building. The building will be fitted with elevators that offer panoramic views of the internal courtyard of the building. The rooftop pool and gym will offer absolute privacy with distant views of major city landmarks close to Downtown Dubai. Azizi Gardens also shares proximity to the boardwalk canal feature. http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CONS_338092.html0

JMA Group to open 20 supermarkets in Dubai

JMA group today announced that it will open a chain of 20 supermarkets in Dubai by the end of 2018 with an initial investment of Dh60 million ($16.34 million), creating an estimated over 1000 jobs in the country.

The group will invest further to open over 100 more convenience stores across UAE, GCC and Asia by 2020.

JMA will offer a wide range of products and everyday essentials, such as food, beverages, ready-meals, organic produce, electronics, fashion and lifestyle amongst others. The group will be introducing farm fresh products alongside their own-brand of products as well as locally-sourced produce to offer best and quality products to its customers.

With an aim to offer a premium shopping experience, JMA supermarkets have speedy self-checkout counters to reduce long queues, accepting multiple forms of payment. Completely customer oriented, JMA will also provide easy e-shopping and mobile application - allowing consumers to receive a range of goods at their doorstep.

Dr Kumar Nair, general manager, JMA Group, said: "We found that there is a big gap in the market, with customers still looking for a seamless and convenient shopping experience. JMA will provide a range of fresh and healthy foods and quality products in our well-designed and hygienic stores as well as excellent customer service - giving our customers a choice of products and service at competitive price."

JMA has opened its first stores at Dubai Marina, Dubai Investment Park, Al Karama, Arjan, Business bay, Al Furjan, Al Warqa and Oud Metha. - - TradeArabia News Service


Orascom, Al-Sahraa JV wins Fujairah airport deal

A consortium of Orascom Construction (ORAS) and UAE's Al Sahraa Holding Company have won a deal to develop the Fujairah International Airport in the UAE, a report said.

The contract is valued at $180 million, an Egypt Today report said.

In a filing to the Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Orascom said the project includes all major infrastructure work to develop the airport, including the construction of a new air control tower, expansion of the existing runway, the addition of a new emergency runway with taxiways, and the installation of all airport systems.

Orascom's stake in the project is 60 per cent, according to the statement.

Orascom Construction is based in Dubai, UAE, and was established in January 2015. While Al Sahraa Group is a UAE company founded in 1983 that specialises in road transportation.


JMUdrive's pay-per-minute car rental launched in Sharjah

Udrive, a dedicated pay-per-minute car rental service, today opened its services to residents and visitors of Sharjah.

The new service will initially provide 100 vehicles as part of its plan to offer the smartest and innovative transport modes in the emirate.

Developed as a smartphone app-based service, Udrive offers affordable rental car services across Dubai and now Sharjah. Udrive cars can be booked and reserved for via a dedicated app, offering the most convenient car rental option in both emirates.

Vehicles will be available 24/7 and can be rented at a location nearest to a driver via the Udrive app or website. Once registered, customers can unlock cars through their smartphones. This keyless access and the ability to park for free across the key areas of the city, where permitted, as well as free petrol, means drivers can go anywhere and at any time.

Hasib Khan, CEO and founder of Udrive, commented: "We are proud to be the first company to introduce this service in Sharjah offering residents in the emirate with a hassle-free means of transportation. We will make sure that the cars are available at hotspot locations across the emirate. Moreover, all new customers that register for Udrive will enjoy a complimentary one-hour free drive to experience the service. With no security deposits, minimum rental time or expensive border crossing fees, Udrive provides users with a new way to travel."

The Udrive service in Sharjah will roll out with a fleet of Nissan Sunny's and Kia Picanto's with free inclusions of fuel, parking and comprehensive insurance for all its members.

With a simple and straightforward pricing scheme, members only pay for the time they drive. The pay-as-you-go service costs 50 Fils ($.01) plus VAT per minute and is capped after four hours. After that customers drive 20 hours, the remaining day, for free, including 150 km free mileage, offering commuters with an affordable option to travel from anywhere to everywhere in the city and at any time.

With more than 20,000 registered customers, Udrive currently records 600 trips per day with over 100,000 trips recorded in 2017.

To start using the service, customers just need to download the app and register or follow the same way of registration on the website. Requirements include an Emirates ID, driving license and debit/credit card. Those who don't have their own card can contact Udrive team for alternative cash payment methods. Tourists will also be able to use the service and will need their passport instead of the Emirates ID. They must also have a valid international driving license recognised by the UAE government and which must be at least 1 year old. - - TradeArabia News Service


British Airways adopts six flights a week to Tehran

This development comes hot on the heels of the recent relaxation of sanctions, which has opened up new prospects for Iran as a tourist destination. The country offers visitors the chance to experience fascinating heritage and culture, unique architecture and delicious cuisine and delicacies.

The new flights also grant more choice and flexibility between London and the Middle East, especially for families looking to visit relatives. Tehran is also an emerging business market

Head of network and fleet, British Airways, Sean Doyle remarked: "British Airways has a long history of flying to Iran so we are very excited to be launching our new six times a week service, direct from Heathrow to Tehran. Iran is a fascinating country, full of amazing and surprising places for tourists to visit and discover its sophisticated and ancient culture."

Doyle added: "The recent lifting of sanctions has also effectively allowed Iran to re-open for business and paved the way for commerce to re-connect with Iran's economy, which is the second largest in Middle East and North Africa, with a diverse range of businesses and industries."

The service from Heathrow Terminal 5 will be operated by a four-class Boeing 777.

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