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Oman 2015 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sheikh Hamood Sultan Saif Alhosni, CEO of Saraya Bandar Jissah, on the development of a stunning integrated tourism complex.

Sheikh Hamood Sultan Saif Alhosni
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Hamood Sultan Saif Alhosni is CEO of Saraya Bandar Jissah, Muscat’s newest integrated tourism complex development. He began his career in 1994 as a Civil Engineer at Muscat Municipality, where he went on to become Director General of Technical Affairs in 2007. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from Sultan Qaboos University.

You are currently developing the iconic Saraya Bandar Jissah Integrated Tourism Complex. Could you give us an overview of this project and tell us what the importance is of having Omran as a partner?

The Saraya Bandar Jissah project is located in the touristic hub of Muscat, nestled between the Al Hajar Mountains and looking out onto a pristine and secluded bay. The $600 million project has 398 exclusive residential units comprised of villas, townhouses, duplexes, and apartments spread over five zones, as well as two luxury five-star hotels operated by Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, which are located on the beautiful beachfront. The site covers 2.2 square kilometers and will also include a recreational complex, staffing accommodation, and a technical zone. Saraya Bandar Jissah effortlessly balances the best aspects of an ITC while maintaining the natural beauty of the site. Great effort has been made in marrying together a sleek and individual modern design with the traditional surroundings of Bandar Jissah, incorporating traditional Omani architectural themes and design elements. Saraya Bandar Jissah will be a recognizably Omani development through the extensive use of local materials, which number over half of the development materials, and include locally-sourced cabling and wiring, window materials, and marble as well as design elements specific to Oman. The recreation club located in the center of the development will offer a community hub for all the residents. Offering everything from your daily shop to dining out, or a full work out to relaxing by the infinity pool. The Club also boasts stunning views over the park and includes a restaurant, coffee shop, pool, and gym. What makes this project unique is that there will be two luxury hotels perched on the beach, offering tourists a distinctly boutique or resort experience depending on their choice, and we are proud to partner with the pioneers in the hospitality business, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts. Omran, as the investment arm of the government in terms of tourism and hospitality projects is our partner shareholder in the development, which gives the market real confidence in the quality of the project, both with locals and expatriates, who are coming to invest and buy properties. Omran has already established a very good name in the market, and has already constructed many new hotels and properties around Oman. We believe it is adding great value to Saraya Bandar Jissah.

What are the main challenges you are facing in the development of the first phase?

We are glad to say that we aren't facing any major challenges. The sales activities launching this month are keeping us on our toes. As Saraya Bandar Jissah is the only ITC launched in the last seven years, it is a challenge in terms of a comparable track record of sales work. We're really pleased with the feedback we're getting and are proud of the quality of the product we are presenting to the market. It was a challenge in terms of the economic crisis a few years ago and the resultant delay. We have made significant efforts to understand the market thoroughly and also gain the trust of the people. Since we have begun the construction activity before selling housing units, we have been successful in instilling trust in the buyers that we are here to stay, and ensuring they receive the maximum return on investment.