Construction of sea defence walls and a marina will begin at the end of 2005, allowing for building work on the resort to start in early 2006. The UK’s Arupis the design engineer for the structural and civil works and Lebanon’s BESTis the engineer for the sea defence walls and marina.

A decision has still to be taken on the approach for tendering the main works for the project. Tender documents are being prepared for six different packages, including residential and commercial units, hotels, a themed village and external works. It is possible that a number of contractors may be involved under a managing contractor. About 10 companies including Lebanese, Saudi, Turkish, an Italian-Belgian joint venture and Dubai-based contractors are understood to have expressed interest in the project. Work on the resort will take about five years.

The development will involve construction of 48 apartments and 210 residential units, a four-star, 350-room hotel, a tower block on a three-storey podium with a total built-up area of 25,000 square metres and a shopping mall of 25,000 square metres and three cinemas to be built over a two-storey basement car parking area, all of which will be built around a salt water lagoon. There will also be a themed village with apartments, shops and restaurants, all built over a semi-basement car park, a public park with leisure facilities and a small amphitheatre, an entertainment centre and a five-star, 280-room hotel with conference facilities.

Antarados, the project developer, is in talks with several hotel operators for the 20-year licence to operate the resort’s hotels.

The design team is made up of UK and local firms. The local Artware Corporationis the architect for the apartments and themed village, London-based Renton Howard Wood Levin (RHWL)is the architect for the hotels and a UK firm identified as S&Pis the architect for the commercial section. The project quantity surveyor is the UK’s Gleeds, and the environmental consultant is Cooper Partnership, also of the UK.

Antarados, also of the UK was formed in June 2002 and has five main shareholders. Tartous Municipality is contributing the land for the project. Three UK firms have stakes in the company – the Wahoud Group, Junada Internationaland Kerwould Investment Company. The chairman of the Wahoud Group, Mohammed Wahoud, is also an individual investor (MEED 13:2:04).