Sama Dubai and Compagnie Generale Immobiliere (CGI), Morocco’s second-largest property developer, are to invest 4.6 billion Moroccan dirhams (Dh2.24bn) in a residential and tourism project in Marrakesh.
Work on the Chrifia Oasis resort in the southern city will start in May and is the second mega partnership between CGI and Sama Dubai, the international real estate investment and development arm of Dubai Holding. The Government of Morocco has an 80 per cent stake in listed Rabat-based CGI.
Morocco has been focusing on developing its tourism infrastructure to meet a projected inflow of 10 million tourists by 2010 and Sama Dubai aims to seize growth opportunities in the North African country.
The Chrifia Oasis resort will consist of golf courses, 1,000 villas, 700 environmentally friendly apartments, two luxury hotels, four “mansion” hotels, sports facilities and an international conference centre. The entire resort will stretch over 268 hectares.
Tourism represented 71 per cent of the overall investment in the Marrakesh region, according to the Maghreb Arab Presse, the official Moroccan news agency. Between 2003 and 2007, 913 tourism projects worth $14bn (Dh51.4bn) were launched in the region.
CGI and Sama Dubai had previously announced a partnership for developing the Dh11bn Amwaj Resort. Amwaj has an area of 121 hectares and is located outside of the capital Rabat. When it is completed in 2009, it will include commercial and residential towers, a marina, hotels, convention centres, multiplexes, residential units and shopping malls.
According to Sama Dubai: “The project [Amwaj] is the first phase of the massive Bouregreg waterfront metropolis, that aims to maximise Morocco’s tourism potential with 200,000 square metres of office space, five-star hotels and resorts, a harbour for yachts, an international convention centre, 100,000 sq m of retail space, theatres and beautifully landscaped parks.
“Sama Dubai has participated in the $3bn Amwaj real estate project because of the vibrant nature of the Moroccan real estate sector in which investors from different countries have put money. Located on the banks of Bouregreg River Valley in an idyllic setting between the cities of Rabat and Sale and close to the Atlantic Ocean, Amwaj aims to evolve as the new heart of the capital, offering an upscale lifestyle to residents and visitors in an exclusive Moroccan setting.”
CGI was formed by the Moroccan Government in 1960 through a state-owned company to develop residential buildings and invest in Morocco’s real estate sector.
Marrakesh, or Marrakech, known as the Red City or Al Hamra, is a city with a population of slightly more than one million people in southwestern Morocco, near the foothills of the Atlas mountains. It is the second largest city after Casablanca, and was known to early travellers as Morocco City. Like many North African and Middle Eastern cities, Marrakesh comprised both an old fortified city – the Médina – and an adjacent modern city, called Gueliz. It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.
Alongside the native population, there is a very large international community consisting mainly of Europeans – especially French, estimated at 10,700 people, and mostly retired. Additionally there are Germans, Italians, English and Swiss.
Sama Dubai and CGI in Dh2.24bn Morocco plan