Emaar breaks ground on SYP 26 billion (US$500 million) Eighth Gate in Syria

Published June 12th, 2006 - 06:53 GMT

UAE-based Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate developers, will create a modern landmark in the rich cultural heritage of Syria with the ground-breaking ceremony of the SYP 26 billion (US$500 million) Eighth Gate development.

Inspired by the legendary seven gates that were access points to Syria’s rich civilization, Eighth Gate is a mixed use development in Yafour, approximately 15 minutes from the Damascus city centre. The development offers a unique lifestyle choice in Syria and is the first foray of Emaar’s multi-billion investment in the country.

A joint venture between Emaar Properties and IGO, an offshore investment and property development company, Eighth Gate recreates the luxury and style that characterise Emaar’s world-class Dubai developments.

The ground-breaking ceremony also highlighted the significance of the second Syrian Emarati Economic Forum held in Syria on June 10 and 11. The Forum, addressed by top-ranking officials from Syria and the UAE, showcased new regional opportunities in the entire economic spectrum including property development.

Mr Abdullah Al Dardari, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Emaar Board Director Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Mr Moufaq Al Gaddah, IGO Chairman and Mr Ibrahim Al Hashimi, Managing Director, Emaar Syria attended the forum and the ground-breaking ceremony.


“Eighth Gate sets the standards for future projects planned for Syria,” observed Mr Dardari. “Emaar was the perfect partner for this project. As an internationally recognized company, their history of creating master planned communities is renowned. Eighth Gate will become a referral point for modern community living.”

Mr Al Ghurair said: “Syria has great potential for future development and is a remarkable location for Emaar to develop high quality real estate projects on an international scale. The Eighth Gate is our first project in Syria and we are pooling in all our capabilities as well as tapping local and international talent to make it the best start.”

Mr Moufaq Al Gaddah, Chairman of IGO added: “We are pleased to be working with Emaar in developing a community of this quality. The new Eighth Gate will recreate the magic of a bygone era but in a modern context.”

The Eighth Gate project builds upon the ancient history of Damascus in its architectural style of ornately decorated buildings influenced by traditional Islamic design and pays homage to the city’s ancient roots. A signature tall gate marks the access to the main plaza.

The city walls of Damascus have had seven gates as access points. These gates nurtured the rich culture of the region and were powerful emblems of the people of Damascus. Although only one of these monuments remains intact today, the city remembers how those imposing structures had welcomed all who walked through the archways into the city, century after century.

Divided into three zones – the Commercial Centre, the Waterfront and the Residential – the exclusive development comprises apartments as well as a classical style piazza, commercial tower, plaza and a retail mall inspired by the souks of Damascus. A new lifestyle address, Eighth Gate would offer high-street shopping experiences and al fresco dining out options.



The Eighth Gate retail mall will be the biggest ever in Levant and has been designed by a world-class designer with extensive expertise in developing spectacular shopping malls. The mall will derive synergy from Emaar’s current plans of building over 150 shopping malls around the Middle East and North Africa and Subcontinent markets, and is poised to become a landmark on its own might apart from offering a new shopping experience for the country.

Eighth Gate office buildings will sprawl over 1 million sq. ft. Apart from a modern ambience, the office development will feature basement parking. When finished, the Eighth Gate office will fulfil the entire cross-section of business needs in a vibrant environment in the heart of Damascus.

As part of the first phase, Eighth Gate will introduce more then 200 serviced apartments. Designed to meet the demanding requirements of both the Syrian clientele as well as international visitors, the apartments will feature all modern amenities. Emaar is currently undertaking a market study to evaluate the various consumer preferences and incorporate them to enhance the appeal of the apartments.

With rows of fountains, lush landscaped gardens combined with interconnected courtyards, Eighth Gate will be the ideal place to relax and take in the picturesque surroundings.

Emaar’s innovative offering of self-contained, amenities-rich communities have created lifestyle options that have been the first choice for many investors. The integration of landscaped environs and retail centres within theme-based luxury lifestyle communities has proven to be a big attraction for the home buyer.

With joint ventures and projects covering Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Tunisia, Emaar is taking its winning formula first conceived in its home base Dubai to the rest of the world.
About Emaar Properties PJSC:
Emaar Properties, the Dubai-based Public Joint Stock Company and one of the world’s largest real estate companies, is listed on the Dubai Financial Market and is part of the Dow Jones Arabia Titans Index.  The company recently announced that its net profits for the first quarter ended 31 March 2006 reached US$406.9 million – an impressive rise on the US$355.4 million for the equivalent period. Emaar’s net profits for the year ended 31 December, 2005 climbed 180 per cent, to a record US$1.288 billion. The figures represent a substantial increase on the US$460 million for the year 2004.

The company has witnessed tremendous growth since its inception in 1997 and boasts a rapidly growing tenant base with more than 13,000 homes handed over to satisfied customers to date. Currently, it has several major real estate projects under various stages of development in Dubai including Arabian Ranches, Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills, The Views, The Meadows, The Springs, The Lakes and The Greens. The company also owns and manages the Gold and Diamond Park.

Emaar has started construction on its most ambitious UAE project to date, the US$20 billion Burj Dubai Downtown development, which comprises the Burj Dubai - the tallest tower in the world when completed in 2008, The Dubai Mall, Burj Dubai Boulevard, The Lofts, The Old Town, The Old Town Island, The Residences, Business Hub, Burj Views, man-made lakes, landscaped parks and gardens. The company has joint ventures and projects across the region covering Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Last year the award winning property developer announced plans to aggressively expand the retail sector with investments of over US$4 billion to develop approximately 100 malls in the mega emerging markets of the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. In addition, Emaar has teamed up with Giorgio Armani S.p.A to build and manage 10 Armani hotels and resorts across the world; an Armani hotel will feature in Emaar’s flagship Burj Dubai tower.

Recently the company also announced plans to expand its investments into the education and healthcare business. The education initiative will involve the establishment of international schools in the MENA region and India, which will offer premium quality education and an integrated curriculum for students ranging from kindergarten to tertiary levels. Emaar’s healthcare diversification will see the company invest around US$5 billion over the next decade in the MENA and South Asia markets with the construction of hospitals, clinics and medical centres and the investment in the provision of world-class healthcare services.

While continuing to actively pursue expansion in its core business of innovative, high quality real estate development, Emaar has diversified into related business lines to further build value for its 59,000 shareholders, which includes the Government of Dubai. Emaar owns and manages EMRILL, a joint venture with the UK-based Carillion which provides innovative property and facilities management services. Emaar also holds 30 per cent equity in Dubai Bank, focused on retail and commercial banking and is the majority shareholder in Amlak Finance, UAE’s leading Islamic home financing company. For further information, please visit www.emaar.com.

About Invest Group Overseas (IGO):
Invest Group Overseas (IGO) is an Offshore Investment & Property Development Company set up to provide a range of investments in different field of businesses. The Group is a strategic joint venture by an elite group of Syrian business leaders with a successful business history and combined experience of over 35 years. The partners at IGO have envisioned the company to be a leading force in the investment and property development industry in Syria, and other regional markets.  With thorough knowledge of the country and the region, IGO plans to be a part of Syria’s growth and development with its strength of leadership, enterprise and ambition.

As an investment company, IGO capitalizes on Arabia’s multitude of enriching business opportunities. Eager to support and sustain the region’s growth and development, IGO explores opportunities throughout the Arab world by providing top-notch support and profitable corporate strategies. IGO makes strategic capital investments and is committed to the implementation and management of commercially viable real estate, retail and financial activities including the creation of a new Islamic banking option in Syria. It is also associated with a string of high-profile retailers that usher in a new retail culture to the country.


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