MOU to launch a large-scale US$5 billion new integrated urban regeneration project in Aqaba

Published April 9th, 2006 - 07:19 GMT

Under the Patronage of King Abdullah II, one of the largest urban regeneration projects to be undertaken in the history of Jordan and the region was announced during a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between Sheikh Baha'a R. Hariri, Chairman of Horizon Development Holdings, and Nader Al Dahabi, Chief Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.


The unique large-scale urban regeneration development project, covering 13.5 million square metres of land with an overall cost of US$5 billion, will be located at the upper side of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) on its northern access, 11 km from the Red Sea shore and the old town of Aqaba.  The new large-scale development will strengthen Aqaba as a whole, particularly the social and economic platforms, radically transforming Aqaba's economic revival beyond just the cultural and tourist sectors to banking, retail, light industries and public facilities and services.  The main objectives of the project are to ensure that a more varied population feels at home in the area, to encourage ownership and commitment to the new city, to get different public services integrated in 24-hour centres, to raise the level of education and to ensure that people remain in the city throughout their lives.


The multi integrated urban-use city will ultimately compliment and benefit the current ASEZA projects from transportation and infrastructure to tourism projects by providing sustainable urban tourism which effectively becomes a catalyst for regeneration.


"We are extremely excited about our new partnership, which combines expertise and mutual interest to help us achieve our common goals of creating a sense of shared ownership and promoting community engagement with our one-of-a-kind regeneration project in the city of Aqaba, that will also create a destination for international business investment," said Sheikh Baha'a Hariri, Chairman of Horizon Development Holding. Further adding "The immense economic and social opportunity present in the development of this enormous new city is very tangible, and will bring to Aqaba the prosperity and growth it seeks to achieve."


The large-scale urban development will provide a multi urban use city divided into six major zones, with easy accessibility from the surrounding area including the airport.  As an amalgamation of urban elements, the project comprises of: the commercial district centre, cultural and recreational centre, residential villas, complexes and high-rise buildings, in addition to the Warehousing and Light Industry Zone up north.


"As ASEZA, we are very pleased about our new partnership, and as we promised 5 years ago, we are still in the early phases of transforming Aqaba into a truly viable and thriving city that is investor friendly, from regulation to infrastructure, and will be attractive for both business and tourism and benefit the overall community," said H.E. Nader Al Dahabi, Chief Commissioner of ASEZA.


The commercial centre will house amongst other things, apartments, offices, three to five star hotels, public gardens and will be surrounded by a man-made lake to provide a strategic, yet visually tantalizing, buffer zone with the other development zones.  Whilst the assigned recreational and cultural centre, adjacent to the city centre at the south entrance of the city, will accommodate cultural centres, governmental agencies, services, and public buildings and activities. 


Three zones are assigned to the residential areas and will be developed around the man-made lake to benefit from the panoramic view towards the city centre from one side, and towards the valley or the Aqaba chain of mountains from the other.  Finally, but not least, the Warehousing and Light Industries Zone will be located between the new city and the ASEZ northern borders, and will be directly accessible from the airport's secondary road.


Crystallising the vision of HM King Abdullah II, this partnership between Horizon and ASEZA presents a strategic partnership between the public and private sectors, to put into operation Aqaba's local urban regeneration.  Its vision is aligned with the overall development strategy and mission that ASEZA is implementing in Aqaba, to enhance the community quality of life through sustainable development in order to create a globally competitive investor friendly environment that will act as the catalyst for the overall economic growth of Jordan.

© 2006 Al Bawaba (

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