Oman tourism: Omran to develop Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre

Oman Monday 18/January/2016 18:27 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman tourism: Omran to develop Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre

Muscat: Following directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is designing Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre, the Sultanate’s largest mixed-used urban development.
On completion, it will become a leader of smart and sustainable city technology and the benchmark for all future urban developments across Oman.
The company has already done rigorous master-planning for the project.
Highlighting key aspects and latest developments of Madinat Al Irfan’s concept master plan, Omran hosted an executive briefing on Monday 18th January, bringing together senior representatives from the Sultanate’s public and private sectors.
The executive briefing is one in a series of ongoing public and private consultations hosted by Omran involving high-level stakeholders, business community leaders and industry partners.
The special event was attended by HE Dr. Omar bin Abdul Munim Al Zawawi, Special Advisor for External Liaison to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zubair, Adviser for Economic Planning Affairs to His Majesty the Sultan, Omran’s Chairman H.E. Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, senior Government officials and senior members of the public and private sector.
Set to become the largest mixed-use development in Oman, the Madinat Al Irfan urban centre will be developed over three phases and will be geared to complement the predicted population growth and trend towards urbanization in the greater Muscat region.
The Government of Oman officially appointed Omran as the master developer for the project in 2014, and is currently in the process of transferring the land to Omran.
The briefing follows on from the inaugural stakeholder event in October last year. Since then, Omran has met community leaders, educational institutions, and representatives from student bodies who were briefed on the new urban centre and had the opportunity to expand their understanding of the social impact of the Madinat Al Irfan development, while discussing common future goals for social and community growth.
Commenting on the importance of the event, Saif Al Hinai, Executive Director of the Madinat Al Irfan Project noted, “Meeting with stakeholders and presenting the vision of Madinat Al Irfan is a critical part of our overall development philosophy, one which fosters transparency and constructive dialogue between stakeholders, investors, specialists and community leaders. Through this collaboration, we gain stakeholder support, and generate greater levels of participation from our partners in the business community in order to achieve our goals.”
“Over the course of these engagements, we have been encouraged by the high levels of interest from private sector investors and partners to be involved in shaping the future of Madinat Al Irfan, a project which forms a cornerstone for the growing tourism and real-estate sectors in the Sultanate.” added Saif Al Hinai.
During the event, Government officials and senior members of the business and finance community were briefed on the key components of the Madinat Al Irfan draft master plan, the first of which being the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre Precinct.
The elements currently under construction within the first phase include a 22,000 sqm flexible column-free Exhibition centre scheduled for completion Q4 this year.
The centre has been subdivided in five halls large enough to fit two football pitches. The Convention and Exhibition Centre will also include one of the largest state of-the-art auditoriums in the Middle East with an orchestra pit housing 3,200 seats. The precinct will also include a five-star JW Marriott Hotel and a four-star Crowne Plaza that are currently under development and available for private equity shareholding.
Omran also announced seven plots available for investment. These plots will be fully serviced with key utilities (including water, electricity, sewage treatment, high speed internet, etc) available for hospitality, residential, commercial, and leisure development.
As a key catalyst for tourism and urban development, Omran plans to designate the Madinat Al Irfan urban centre as a special development zone, in order to provide close assistance and support to local and international investors, and enable the prompt issue of necessary permits.
The ongoing public and private consultations are being conducted by Omran in advance of the master plan reveal scheduled for mid-2016.