It is a $600 million vision, but the view is priceless. Amid all the construction in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Scott Armstrong casts a glance across the border to the Sultanate of Oman where something pretty special is taking shape.
Up to 1,000 workers are currently on site in the Al Hajar Mountains on the outskirts of Muscat, turning the dream into a reality that will become 398 exclusive residential units including spacious hilltop villas, townhouses and luxury apartments.
Scheduled for a grand opening in 2017, the development also incorporates two luxury hotels operated by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts.
Work on the main resort hotel is well under way, and now officials at the project have revealed, during a tour of the site yesterday, that construction of the boutique hotel is also due to begin ‘any day’.
“The contract for the boutique hotel has been awarded and the construction work will begin any day,” said Lee O’Donoghue, Vice President – Marketing & Sales of Saraya Bandar Jissah.
The first hotel is set to be a boutique five-star hotel, occupying 61,000 sq m and comprising 112 rooms. The second hotel, the larger of the two, will occupy a plot area of 74,000 sq m and will comprise of rooms and individual villas.
The project also includes a beach-front ballroom for weddings and events, international cuisine restaurants and sports activities.
“Work for the resort is evolving at a very high speed. The resort sees itself in the structure phase as the ballroom structure’s columns and shear walls are being completed, while the car park has achieved 80 percent completion.
“In parallel, the contractor for the staff accommodation is setting up their site facilities and progressing with excavation works,” said Mr O’Donoghue.
There are five main contractors working on the Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC), namely Nagarjuna Construction Company International, Carillion Alawi, Leighton Middle East, Towell Construction and Ghantout Transportation and General Contracting. Four consultants oversee the work on the contractors, namely Halcrow Middle East, WS Atkins International & Co., DSA Architects International and KEO International Consultants.
Other than the two five star hotels, the project will deliver 398 exclusive residential units in five distinct residential zones – Zaha, Nameer, Na’eem, Safa and Wajd, the last featuring grand exclusive cliff-top residents set to be ‘the most desirable locations in the region’. Saraya Bandar Jissah was recently awarded the ‘best international mixed-use development’ at the International Property Awards.
“We are 50 per cent ahead of target of what we had set in 2015,” Mr O’Donoghue said on sales.
Regarding the buyers, officials said they are a mix of Omani, GCC nationals, including the UAE, and international buyers.
“Last year we had 80 per cent Omani buyers but this year we have buyers from all over the world,” said Mr O’Donoghue.
Zaha, the first residential zone introduced to the market in 2014, is now at an advanced stage with concreting for 21 of the four bedroom villas foundations ready, along with columns’ concreting finished on the ground floor for 10 units of the 21, and seven of them are casted with first floor columns.
“Foundations of all three bedroom villas have been laid. Reinforcing, concreting and shuttering work has been prepared for the ground floor and first floor. Additionally, the foundations of five units of the 21 apartment/duplex buildings were casted,” Mr O’Donoghue added.
Mohammed Al Hadeethi, Senior Construction Manager of Saraya Bandar Jissah, said that advanced earthworks within the residential zones Zaha and Nameer, the two hotels, the staff accommodation, technical zone and a majority of roads have been completed.
“In January 2015, a contractor conducted the last blast operation, marking 139 safe rock blast operations that generated around 900,000 cubic metres of excavated material. Other structural works including the lagoon surrounding Nameer, weirs, retaining walls, culverts and wadi channels are now complete,” he said.
Saraya Bandar Jissah offers freehold ownership of properties to foreign investors who also have the right to apply for residency in Oman for themselves and direct family members.
“The prices are ‘competitive’ considering the quality that is offered and more over buyers can pay 50 per cent after the project is completed,” said Mr O’Donoghue.
“The project is going to be a “unique” one in every respect and is different from other projects not only in Oman but also in the entire region.”