Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Majid Al Futtaim recently hosted an official foundation ceremony to further cement their partnership for the RO5-billion ($13 billion) Madinat Al Irfan, Muscat’s new ‘City for the Future’.
The foundation ceremony, held under the auspices of Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal Al-Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court, featured the official reveal of the joint venture company between Omran and Majid Al Futtaim, named Madinat Al Irfan Development Company SAOC.
The company, which has been established to oversee the development and delivery of the new city, has a newly formed board of eight members, chaired by Talal Al Rahbi, deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council for Planning in the sultanate.
Speaking at the ceremony, Al Rahbi said: “We are delighted to celebrate the establishment of the Madinat Al Irfan Development Company SAOC and highlight the progress taking shape on the first phase of the new city. The overall scale of the project is unprecedented and directly aligns with the government’s vision to invest in sustainable developments to strengthen and diversify the economy. We believe that Madinat Al Irfan’s mixed-use offering will transform Oman’s economy with significant socio-economic benefits to the Sultanate.”
As the master developer of 4.9 million-sq-m of the core of Madinat Al Irfan, Majid Al Futtaim is currently crafting the first phase of the master plan which includes serviced plots available for commercial, residential, educational, healthcare, leisure and hospitality developments.
Phase one of the city, consisting of approximately 250,000 sq m, will be developed over the next five years and will include public amenities. When complete, the first phase of the joint venture development will be a vibrant mixed-use community that will serve as the new urban centre for Muscat, integrating residential communities and places of commerce and leisure.
Peter Walichnowski, CEO of Omran, commented: “Our partnership with Majid Al Futtaim is in line with our strategic approach to bringing together the highest standards of expertise in quality development with genuine local heritage and passion. This partnership will strongly contribute to the strengthening and diversification of the national economy to support Oman’s Vision 2040 through pioneering tourism infrastructure and lifestyle development. By partnering with Majid Al Futtaim, I have no doubt that we will create a fantastic array of world-class experiences for the benefit of the local community and international visitors alike.”
Hawazen Esber, chief executive officer of Communities at Majid Al Futtaim – Properties said: “Our ambition is for Madinat Al Irfan to become a catalyst for economic diversification in Oman, and a benchmark in sustainability and urban design for the region. With a proven track record in developing successful mixed-use destinations and our unique approach to placemaking – Al Mouj Muscat being a great example – we aim to deliver a world-class destination in the heart of Muscat that is people-centric and truly is a city for the future.”
Placemaking represents an integral part of Majid Al Futtaim’s strategy in developing mixed-use communities. The company launched the region’s first-ever neuroscience study, titled ‘What Makes Great Places’ in 2017, to define the principles of placemaking and their significance in community development.
“This exciting project in Muscat is a unique opportunity to activate the master plan - embedding the key learnings from our projects across the region - and establish flexible development guidelines which can unlock further investment opportunities, from developers, operators and individual investors in Oman and from across the region”, added Esber.
With a strong presence in Oman for 17 years, Majid Al Futtaim has made other significant investments in the Sultanate, including City Centre Muscat, My City Centre Sur, the first community mall in the sultanate, and City Centre Qurum. In addition, the new Mall of Oman, set for completion in 2020, will be the biggest shopping destination of its kind in the sultanate hosting an estimated 350 outlets set on a retail space of over 135,000-sq-m area. - TradeArabia News Service