Saudi Arabia’s Arab Supply & Trading Corporation (Astra) has signed an agreement with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (Aseza) to develop a $500 million-700 million leisure complex.

Under the agreement, Astra will set up a project development company with a working capital of $100 million to develop the Aqaba lagoon tourism site (ALTS) on the Red Sea. Aseza will hold a 15-20 per cent equity stake in the company, with the remainder coming from Astra and other Arab investors.

ALTS is described by Aseza as an integrated, multi-use leisure community built around a large man-made 30-hectare lagoon. The development covers a total area of 300 hectares and includes an international golf course, equestrian centres, office buildings, theme parks and a 250-metre seafront on the Gulf of Aqaba.

The 12-year development will be constructed in three phases and includes minimum requirements of 1,500 four and five-star hotel rooms, 20,000 square metres of commercial space and 800 residential units. Preliminary studies for the scheme will begin once the agreement has been endorsed by the Council of Ministers. Before construction can begin, the developers must carry out a detailed environmental impact assessment, expected to last six months.

Also in the Aqaba special economic zone, a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Turkish developer SUTA Construction has been awarded the concession by the Jordan Industrial Estate Corporation (JIEL) to plan, finance, develop, market and operate an industrial real estate complex adjacent to Aqaba airport. The consortium has the right to build and sell industrial buildings, build for long-term lease and sell or lease lots for development.