Muscat: Hewn from the rocks of the Al Hajar mountains, a $600 million dream is taking shape in Oman which is expected to give the Sultanate's real estate market a boost.
Saraya Bandar Jissah will be the first Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) to launch in seven years and has just begun promoting itself to the world as 'Oman's newest luxury address'.
Two beachfront luxury hotels, to be managed by the Jumeirah Group, will be flanked on the 2.2sqkm site by five residential zones of high-end housing, available to all nationalities to buy in the ITC.
Saraya Bandar Jissah Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Hamood bin Sultan Al Hosni was appointed as CEO in 2008 and was the first member of staff on the project. He told the Times of Oman that the first hotel contract has now been awarded, but not announced yet, and the contract to build the largest residential zone is also close to being awarded.
He said: "It's like bringing a child into the world where you become very protective and only want the best for them. I am very passionate about our development and proud of the team that has assembled over the last six years."
According to experts, the project can't come soon enough with demand for properties in Oman's ITCs picking up. Marianne Helme, Residential Manager at Cluttons, said that the demand for ITC properties is growing fast due to an increased understanding of Oman's market and the country's growth.
However, she believes that the supply is in fact lagging behind the demand and there is not much stock available, creating more demand for new projects. "They should start building more quickly."
"Many people are coming from Dubai and buying in Muscat. Also people are coming from the Gulf," she said, adding that buyers of ITC properties in Oman come from as far as UK, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands as well as from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and India and its surrounding areas.
On Sunday the Times of Oman reported on Kempinski's plans to have its luxury hotel open to guests at The Wave ITC by the end of next year.
On Monday, in another boost to the Sultanate's ITC market, Muscat Hills said it will begin construction this year of its new 270-room five-star InterContinental Hotel & Golf Clubhouse, due to open its door in 2016.