The Iraqi authorities are now reviewing the concept masterplan for the $30bn Madinat Rashid project in Baghdad.

The masterplan involves developing Madinat Rashid in downtown Baghdad. The development will be home to 500,000 people when it is complete and will involve building residential units, office and retail facilities, a hotel and hospitality district, as well as healthcare and recreational facilities, including mosques, museums, theatres and cinemas.

The 5.1-square-kilometre Madinat Rashid will be built on the site of Al-Rashid Military Compound, an old military camp used by Saddam Hussein. UAE-based developer Al-Maabar is developing the project.

The initial cost of the scheme is expected to be about $10bn.                                                  

Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah won the contract to carry out the concept masterplan in 2008. Dar al-Handasah is now waiting for the masterplan to be approved by the Mayoralty of Baghdad and the Investment Commission.

Following the approval of the concept masterplan, the project will then move into the detailed design stage. Construction tenders could be issued in 2012, says a source close to the project.

However, security in Baghdad remains a key issue in how quickly the project can progress.

Al-Maabar is also developing the $10bn Marsa Zayed real-estate project in Jordan on the site of the existing Aqaba port (MEED 26:1:11).