Saraya al Aqaba; Goodbye Amman!

Saraya Aqaba

So, what is Saraya al ?

�Saraya Aqaba� is a Jordanian private shareholding company, whose founding shareholders include Saraya , Jordan�s Social Security Corporation, Aqaba Development Corporation, and Arab Bank plc. Saraya Aqaba will implement the US $610 million �Saraya Aqaba Project�, a premier tourism and leisure destination, with a mixed-use themed development. Situated on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, the construction of the Saraya Aqaba Project and its man made lagoon will be completed in January 2009, adding approximately 1.5 km of beachfront to the city of Aqaba. The Project comprises approximately 610,000 square meters of master-planned development, combining the splendor of an authentically styled ancient city with the modern luxuries of a world class resort. It features five luxurious hotels, various residential opportunities (beach front villas, town houses and apartments), office space, a contemporary shopping district, an old souk, a water park, a convention centre, and a wharf promenade. A bustling �city within a city�, uniquely designed in a culturally authentic manner; Saraya Aqaba is set in the midst of a rich and textured environment of lush gardens and sparkling waterways.

�Saraya Aqaba will be a flagship destination for Aqaba, and its size, scale and design will reflect the growing international profile of the resort.�

The project is valued at US$362 million. Saudi Oger Ltd. is the project�s construction contractor, and UAE-based Jumeirah has been appointed to manage the resort�s world-class hotels. US design firm Phil Hettema and Associates is the development�s architecture consultant.

Saraya Aqaba�s residential units will be sold on a freehold basis, with ownership of the title of the land included in the sale.

One-bedroom apartments start from US$342,000, town houses are priced from US$350,000, while a beachfront villa at Saraya Aqaba will cost around US$2.8 million. Ya balash…

Saraya Aqaba, presented to mean �Sea of Opportunity�.

All the above were quotes from different press releases of companies mentioned above.

Now, the question is: Who’s interest is this project? Well, they say �the Jordanian market but also from overseas and GCC buyers. Initial commitments to buy 100 of the freehold properties available have already been received.�

So, being Jordanian, I belong to ‘Jordanian market segment’. Wallahe they made my day. Peanuts!! If I start saving US $ 10,000 a year, it’s gonna be only 35 years before I can afford to buy “one-bedroom apartments”, to rest in peace!

See, I’m for these kinds of projects, in spite that all involved are foreign companies, starting from design, construction and management (as if we don’t have any of these in Jordan); however it will use some of our unemployed hands (hopefully not import these too), and will increase the landmark of Aqaba as a tourist destination in the area. However, what about the real estate market? All the new real estate projects target foreigners, rich, very rich foreigners, starting with Royal Metropolis (The Jordan Gate) and Royal Village and ending with Saraya Aqaba.

During my last visit to Jordan last July, I was shocked at the prices of apartments and houses, and how expensive my dream has become. As a Jordanian expat, I was planning to save money and buy apartment within next five years or so, now, with our bro. Iraqis help (no offense, I was told many numbers of Iraqi resident in and around, least was 200,000 and max. 1 million), the real estate market jumped 100% or more in some areas, of what prices were just a couple of years ago. And now with all these new projects coming up, more of our bro. Arab will flood the market and inflation of existing prices will no doubt be the case. So, poor me, my plan now is, shut up and spend this money I’m saving on leisure�s of life, since I’ll never be able to follow and reach a state where I can buy home at Jordan, so that’s no more one of my leisure of life.

Honestly speaking, it’s becoming cheaper to by a home or a land in Bahrain or Oman than buying the same in my country. And i think I will. So, Goodbye Amman!