Plans for developing Tala Bay into a major tourism resort are taking shape, with progress being made on the construction of four hotels for the estimated $500 million project.Work has begun on the $35 million Marina Beach hotel. The four-star, 320-room hotel will be built on 60,000 square metres and will have a 280-metre-long beach front. Facilities include restaurants, swimming pools and a conference area. Construction will be split into three packages. The local Habash & Deirhas the first construction contract for the excavation works. Work is due to be completed by 2007. The client is a local/Qatari joint venture of Al-Qamar Investment. Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) has the construction contract for a planned $20 million three-star, 250-room hotel. The hotel is still in the design stages with work due to be completed by early 2008. The client is Egypt’s Golden Coast Investment Company. Construction tenders for the $40 million, four-star, 350-room South Marina Beach hotel are due to be issued in November by the client, Amman-based Zara Investment Holding Company (Zara). A planned $35 million, four-star, 250-room Moon Beach hotel is in the design stages. The developer is Amman-based Abu Jaber Company. Work is continuing on the $22 million Marina Town phase 1 development. Aqaba Gulf Contracting (AGC)has the construction contract to build 120 commercial units. AGC will also build the staff accommodation units. Marina Town is the main hub of the project, occupying 200,000 square metres and involves the construction of 15 buildings with 147 residential apartments and 120 commercial units. Work is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2007. The remaining two phases will expand the site to include a golf course, hospital and additional residential and commercial units. The developer is Jordan Projects for Tourism Development(JPTD). The US’ EllerbeBecket prepared the project’s masterplan. Italy’s Alfredo Fredawas the architect for the marina and the residential apartments (MEED 6:5:05; 3:12:04).