Arabtec Construction has submitted a bid for a contract to build a major real estate development in Baku, Azerbaijan. If the UAE-based contractor wins the deal it will be its first project in the Central Asian republic.

Known as the Crescent, the project involves building a five high-rise residential and commercial towers around a retail podium, and a 360-room five-star hotel on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The project and cost manager for the scheme is US-based Aecom.

Arabtec already has a presence in the former Soviet republics. It was awarded a $2.72bn contract to build the Okhta Centre in St Petersburg in Russia in April 2008. The project involves the construction of a 400-metre tower and five other buildings over a common podium as well as other works around the site.

The scheme is jointly owned by Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the Gazprom, and the City of St Petersburg.

Arabtec beat competition from European and Asian contractors for the project. It was the first to be awarded to Arabtec outside the Middle East and Pakistan.

Arabtec is one of the region’s largest contracting companies with projects in the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

In January, Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments agreed to acquire a 70 per cent stake in Arabtec for AED6.4bn ($1.7bn).

The transaction depends on the completion of legal diligence and the consent of Arabtec shareholders (MEED 10:1:10).