Egypt’s Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ministry (MHUUD) expects to award the project management contract for the first phase of the Alamein New City soon.

A source familiar with the scheme told MEED that negotiations with the lowest bidder are under way, with an award expected before the end of September.

Firms that are understood to have submitted a bid for the contract include the local Projacs and US-based Hill International.

Alamein New City is a government supported initiative to develop a new city along the Mediterranean coast on the northern governorate of Matrouh next to Alexandria.

The project has received technical assistance from the UN Habitat’s Achieving Sustainable Urban Development programme since it was initially launched in 2014.

Former president Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree in May 2014 approving the reallocation of 2.4 million square metres of state-owned land to the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) to be used to develop Alamein city.

The conceptual plan, which was being carried out by the local Associated Consultant, aims to develop five main industries – tourism, regional trade, agriculture, logistics, and higher education to attract new investment into the area, and create a centre for employment to support Alexandria.

The first phase, which will aim to house 20,000 residents, will be made up of a tourism development and a residential area with retail space.

Authorities in Egypt have said they plan to approach the private sector soon after all the infrastructure work has been completed.

Work on the infrastructure in the area started in February 2016 when the local Arab Contractors and Societe Egyptienne D’entreprises (previously known as Mukhtar Ibrahim) were appointed by the government to carry out all road and utilities work.

In mid-2016, Egypt’s Ministry of Planning said that the first phase of the El-Alamein city project required an investment of up to $337m. A statement from the ministry, at the time, revealed that in the next fiscal year, 2016/17, it was prepared to earmark the amount from the state budget to develop the tourism project.