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Al Maabar to push ahead with Mena projects

By Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Al Maabar will invest $300 million in a luxury hotel in Jordan and move ahead with its planned projects in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), its managing director said on Sunday.

The 270-room hotel in Amman to be branded St. Regis from the Starwood stable will be ready in first quarter of 2014 and will also include residential apartments and high-end shops.

"There is tremendous demand for hotels in Jordan from wealthy residents, expats and tourists and banks are willing to finance," Yousef al Nowais told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

Al Maabar owned jointly by Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and leading property developers, including Aldar Properties will build 350 to 400 townhouses and related facilities costing $250 million in Aqaba, Jordan as part of a larger development called Marsa Zayed.

"The bigger development depends on when the land will be given to us by the Jordanian authorities.  It is linked to the port," he said.

The first phase of the Bab al Bahr mixed-use project in Rabat, Morocco comprising 220 units is sold out with the second phase to start soon, he said.

In Tripoli, Libya the $300 million Al Waha development will start in first quarter 2011. In Iraq, negotiations are underway for a community project with an agreement to be signed within a month or two, he said.

Al Maabar has about $1 billion worth of projects under development currently, said Chief Executive Abdallah Hageali. Maabar's shareholders include Mubadala, Aldar Properties, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra, Reem Investments and Reem International, all Abu Dhabi-based companies.