Damascus-based United Builders Corporation (UBC) has won two construction contracts worth $108 million on the estimated $415 million Tartous tourist project being developed by Antarados (MEED 23:9:05).

The first $18 million contract, to be carried out by United Builders for Geotechnic & Foundation, a UBC subsidiary, covers piling work to an average depth of 25-30 metres and construction of a marina and sea defence walls with an average length of 20-35 metres and an average height of 25-30 metres. UBC?s second contract, worth $90 million, involves carrying out piling and basic infrastructure works at the northern part of the site. The UK’s Arup is the design engineer for the structural and civil works and Lebanon’s BEST is the engineer for the sea defence walls and marina.

Early works on the development are already under way. Wahoud Trident Contractors, Al-Amal Engineering House and Tayara & Partners, all local, are building a new ferry port, increasing the area of the existing port of about 350,000 square metres and raising the general site level to 3.5 metres above sea level.

Antarados still has to award contracts for the project?s six main packages, including residential and commercial units, hotels, a themed village and external works. It is understood that at least 10 companies are prequalified, including Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Company (ACC), the local Fouad Takla and Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Dubai-based contractors.

The development involves 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, a shopping mall, also with a built-up area of 25,000 square metres, and three cinemas to be built over a two-storey basement car park, all of which will be built around a salt water lagoon. There will also be a themed village including retail outlets 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. The project’s design team is made up of UK and local firms. The local Artware Corporation is 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&P is 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 was formed in June 2002 and has five main shareholders: Tartous Municipality, which is also contributing the land for the project; three UK firms? Wahoud Group, Junada International and Kerwould Investment Company; and the chairman of Wahoud Group, Mohammed Wahoud, as an individual investor.