• Local Al-Jazeera International and Australian XSite to develop $500 Duqm Beach Resort
  • XSite has provided equity and owns 90 per cent of shares in joint venture Duqm Beach Touristic Resort
  • DBTR expects to appoint contractor in June

The local Al-Jazeera International and Australia’s XSite have formed a joint venture, Duqm Beach Touristic Resort (DBTR), to develop a mixed-use development in Duqm.

Duqm Beach Resort will cost $500m and cover 45 hectares in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD).

DBTR signed a land usufruct agreement with SEZAD on 13 May.

XSite is providing equity and owns 90 per cent of shares in DBTR.

The first phase of the project will be worth $100m-$150m and work is expected to start in November 2015. It will involve full site infrastructure works, a main boulevard, workers accommodation, residential, commercial and retail facilities, and schools.

“We have identified a shortlist of five local and international contractors, and hope to appoint a contractor in the next month,” says Stoyan Kiceec, CEO and chairman of the XSite Group and chairman of DBTR. “Our preference is for a local company if they have the capabilities.”

Phase one is due for completion in late 2016 or early 2017. The second phase of the five-stage plan is expected to begin in late 2016, with the same contractor.

“Our goal would be to begin development on the site entirely as one stage,” says Kiceec. “But the speed will be determined by how fast we can get uptake on residential units.”

The full plan involves a four- and a five-star hotel with 250 rooms each, 100 serviced apartments and 7,000 square metres of recreational facilities. It is scheduled for completion in 2020.

“We have two projects of a similar size in the pipeline in Oman,” says Kiceec. “We will have first-player advantage in Oman before everybody else in the world sees the opportunities.”

Oman is investing heavily in tourism as part of its economic diversification strategies. Other projects under way in the sultanate include the 1 million-sq-m Omagine project, to be built by Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company, and the 2 million-sq-m Ras al-Hadd eco-tourism project. It will be developed by Qatari Diar and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran).

SEZAD has a total land area of 1,777 sq km and an 80km coastline. The development of the zone is scheduled to be completed over three phases until 2025. It will include a refinery, industrial area and residential and tourist areas.

The newly expanded Duqm airport began early operations in March 2014, and India’s Larsen & Toubro has won a contract to build the third phase.

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