Focus: Palma Park

New Town Rising

New Town Rising

Jun. 30, 2015

Located in the Afungi peninsula, the 25,000-ha area of Palma is one of the first major projects planned to develop the gas-rich region of Northern Mozambique.

Forty-five kilometers to the south of Tanzania in the province of Cabo Delgado is Palma, a town washed by the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, and soon to become “The City of Gas." The country's massive gas reserves in the Rovuma Basin, currently being developed by Eni and Anadarko, have stimulated growth in several sectors—particularly real estate and construction. Over the course of 2014, the Mozambican government already received about $1 billion in taxes from gas related deals, according the Financial Times, along with rapidly increasing demand for office space and housing in Maputo in the southern-most tip of the country. About 2.65km north of the capital, Palma is currently undergoing its own a real estate boom, constructing the gas infrastructure and a brand new, full-fledged city, in anticipation of the LNG that is expected to be in production by 2019, from the nearby plant in Afunga Park.

The government has allotted a total area of 25,000ha for the project, 7,000ha of which have been allocated to ENI and Anadarko for the development of Palma Park's gas production facilities and related industries that will involve up to 150 companies in total. The acreage will include two natural gas liquefaction units, with its first production activities scheduled for 2020. Its power plant will have a capacity of 75mW, and the gas to liquids (GTL) plant will be able to produce up to 96,000 bpd. According to John W. Peffer, President of Anadarko, construction development to date has consisted mainly of geotechnical work to design the plant, including the offshore and near-shore approach of the pipeline routing to the future marine facilities, and the liquefaction facility. Anadarko has also recently received approval to start building an airstrip and has begun working with local communities and the government to initiate resettlement activities and housing design. Port and logistics operations are being conducted by Portos de Cabo Delgado, which is currently constructing marine infrastructure such as the LNG export jet and a marine offloading facility, according to CEO André da Silva.

The remaining 18,000ha are allocated for the design of the city and gas industry infrastructure, as well as infrastructure for other related industries such as GTL, fertilizers, urea, and ammonia. A multi-purpose area is being developed to generate accommodation, leisure, and services for the 20,000 workers among a total of 250,000 people expected to reside in Palma over the next 15 years. Consulting and design for Palma's urban development general plan for the 18,000ha was awarded by the government to Traçus Arquitectos, which through a set of national and international partnerships conducted a careful study of the social, economic, religious, anthropological, cultural, colonial, and historical aspects of the area for the allocation of space, as well as the development of the area. The urban development plan was recently completed by 30 Mozambicans among a team of 300 Mozambicans.

African Century Real Estate (ACRE) is developing the commercial, residential, and other accommodation options and industrial property in northern Mozambique, including Palma Industrial Park, a 4ha site at the epicenter of Palma's oil and gas activities. Palma Industrial Park will include a 600sqm galvanized steel/masonry warehouse with a 300sqm lay down area, security fencing surrounding the perimeter of the park, 24-hour security guards, and security lighting with generator backup in case of emergencies.

The apartment hotel Palma Residences has already been completed, comprising condominium houses, available for both long-term and daily use. Services include Wi-Fi, satellite television, laundry service, a restaurant and bar, a swimming pool, and other hotel amenities. ACRE is now in the second phase of the project, which will add an additional 50 rooms. Daily rates at Palma Residences start at $132 for single en-suite, $206 for a single or double occupancy apartment, and $293 for a villa for up to four people.