FERUARY 17, 2024

$1.3 billion ‘Al Khuwair Downtown’ project to change Muscat's skyline

MUSCAT: The ambitious Al Khuwair Downtown and Waterfront Development Project, boasting a hefty $1.3 billion investment, is set to redefine urban living in Oman's capital. Spanning an impressive 3.6 million square metres, surpassing the area of Muscat International Airport, this initiative promises a vibrant new hub of Muscat Governorate.

According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, crucial agreements are already in place, paving the way for the project's operational plan and the launch of construction work to commence before the end of 2024. Embracing cutting-edge technology, developers will be seamlessly integrating modern planning tools with the unique landscape of Al Khuwair site.

The renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, carrying on the legacy of the late visionary Iraqi architect, has been entrusted with designing a key 38,000-square-metre section of the project. Zaha Hadid Architects is partnering with well-known real estate services and investment firm CBRE in the project design. Expanding its reach further, the Ministry has partnered with Al Tawoos Company for the development of a mixed-use tower.

While initial impressions might suggest towering structures, the Ministry has clarified that Al Khuwair Downtown will feature a cluster of buildings, each standing tall at approximately 35 to 40 floors. The 12-month design phase prioritises creating a distinctive waterfront landmark, with the strategic location within the flight path securing approval for structures up to 150 metres (50 floors) from the Civil Aviation Authority.

A budget of around $8 million has also been allocated to support the brand identity and marketing of this new urban landmark.

Significantly, Al Khuwair Downtown and Waterfront Development Project is one of the bigger investment prizes in a portfolio of urban initiatives unveiled by the Ministry in recent months for investments and development partnerships.

An investment forum held at the Royal Opera House Muscat last week showcased a range of opportunities across future cities, neighbourhoods and integrated residential plans presented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning.

Dr Khalfan bin Said al Shueili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, stated, "We are partnering with local and international investors to present developments about our future projects." The urban projects align with the Oman 2040 national development strategy aimed at turning ambitious vision for urban development into reality. Careful planning, international expertise and comprehensive collaboration are central to the approach, he explained.

Investment and partnership opportunities encompass the sizable portfolio of urban development projects unveiled by the Ministry recently. The flagship Sultan Haitham City and other envisioned Future Cities across the country stand out. Officials noted that these developments offer a clean slate for urban development.

Further contracting and partnership opportunities will arise when the Ministry releases tenders for basic services and other contracts during the Phase 1 development of major urban projects. The Greater Muscat Structural Plan also holds promise for shaping the capital city's expansion and growth.

Officials highlighted that Al Jabal Al Akhdhar initiative presents opportunities for investment in a sustainable and eco-friendly development amidst nature.

The Ministry's Sorouh Programme for Integrated Housing Scheme also offers investment potential. Eleven such integrated neighbourhoods are planned nationwide, with four currently open for investment through the Tatweer platform.

Beyond individual projects, Thursday's forum emphasised the importance of open communication and collaboration. Real estate developers, investors and stakeholders were among the attendees.