Algiers should soon have a new face, with the launch of a number of architectural projects on the eastern approaches to the city. Shopping areas, apartments and a new mosque at the Bay of Algiers will completely transform the Algerian capital.
The project began long ago. During the 1980s, the government planned to redevelop the coastal strip east of the port area, replacing 19th-century buildings and warehouses with modern districts. However, when Algeria's main source of revenue was hurt mid-decade by a drop in oil prices, the Bay of Algiers development plan was put on the shelf.
"There have been projects languishing in the background for years, due to the financial crisis experienced by the country over the previous decade. Today the money is available, and it is time to re-launch these projects to give Algiers a new look worthy of a capital city," declared President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
The "Algiers Medina" project from the Dahli Group is already under way. Designed around leisure, it will include shopping centres, a marina, a water sports park, cultural activity areas and a 20-kilometre pedestrian boulevard, where the people of Algiers can engage in sporting activities or stroll along the seafront.
The shopping centre is due to open this year and a luxury apartment and office complex should be completed in 2009, said Algerian developer and Dahli Group director Abdelouahab Rahim.
In addition to the hundreds of jobs which will be created as the project moves forward, "Algiers Medina" is intended to put an end to boredom for Algiers' families who lack public recreational space on weekends and holidays. The shopping centre, for example, will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with play areas for children and parking for up to 6,000 cars.
Foreign developers have proposed changing the face of Algiers in a fashion similar to Dubai
Emirati developer Emaar has also shown interest in the coastal strip, where it plans to invest part of 28 billion dollars set aside for tourism and hotel projects in Algeria. The group is proposing to change the face of Algiers the same way it did in Dubai.