Emaar Properties broke ground at the Rabat waterfront, the site of its fourth luxury planned community in Morocco.
Situated on the Moroccan capital’s western side, the 11 km long, 330-hectare AED 12.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) Saphira development will have high quality residential communities and a vast array of hotel and leisure facilities, in addition to the infrastructure needed to turn the area into a world-class tourism, retail and leisure hub.
Governor of Rabat Province Hassan Amrani and Emaar Chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar led a delegation that met Rabat city government officials and Emaar’s Board of Directors at the site for the ceremony.
Mr Hassan Amrani welcomed the development and said it would add immensely to the attraction and reputation of Rabat. He said: “Rabat is one of the country’s most famous historic and cultural centres and the plans for Saphira will bring something new and refreshing to it. The community will become an integral part of Rabat City.”
“Emaar has shown vision in its planning for the historic city and we certainly welcome its involvement in Morocco which can only benefit and enhance lifestyle options for our people,” Mr Amrani added.
Mr Mohamed Ali Alabbar said: “The Saphira development is a vital step in returning the capital to its historical stature as a city coveted by the world. Just as Morocco is a proving ground for Emaar’s international expansion, we envision Saphira as the launch pad for the Rabat of the new millennium.” He added: “What we are doing here today is giving Rabat a window on the ocean once more.”
“Saphira is the first fruit of Emaar’s special relationship with the Government of Morocco, a relationship that will position us both as pioneers of millennial living,” Mr Alabbar said.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Morocco and Emaar at the end of March, which allows Emaar to begin work on three unique developments stretching from the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic coast and includes world-class golf and ski communities, Riviera living and luxury spas and resorts.
Saphira stretches along 11 km of picturesque Atlantic coastline. The community is situated on Rabat’s Corniche and is made up of nine distinctive districts, including a pedestrian-friendly marina district complete with waterfront apartments; a convention centre; resort hotel; neighbourhood park; an arts district featuring an opera house, concert hall and school for dramatic arts; and mixed-use areas for office and retail space.
Residential areas will include the family neighbourhood of Grand Littoral, the beachfront community of Beaux Rivages, the apartment community of Nouvelle Vague set in park surrounding and the lakeside Trois Rives.
A road network, electric tram system, cycle paths and green spaces are also being commissioned to integrate the entire development. At its core will be a pedestrian area, “Le Grand Souk”, which will connect the old medina with the new Medina Maris district. Traffic will be diverted and managed by the new Mohammed VI boulevard, a two-way, two-lane carriageway that will ease the flow of traffic throughout the development.
Saphira will have community facilities including: a medical clinic capable of treating 250 patients, which also has an intensive care unit: a police station, administration offices, fire department, schools, nurseries, sports clubs, swimming pools, tennis courts and playgrounds. Its Royal Country Club will have a polo field as its main feature, as well as a health spa, squash courts and meeting facilities for residents and club members. Shopping will cater for every need and includes a regional shopping centre with 45,000 sq metres of retail and leisure space.
Construction on phase one of the Saphira project is expected to take 10 years, with the first residential owners and retail tenants taking occupancy in two years.