I've been to both Mosul and Baghdad (before the American invasion),and the difference was striking. Iraq, like most Arab countries adopted a policy of excessive centralization, where heavy investments were made in the capital and other cities were largely neglected.
That was really unfortunate, many "second cities" in the Middle East turned from major urban centers into cities in decline, while historically they were almost on par with the capital cities (Mosul,Alexandria, Aleppo, Tripoli etc...).
maybe in the future Mosul can return as a major trading center that links Syria and the Eastern mediterranean to the Iraqi hinterland. I have to say, the people of Mosul are really special, very kind and very welcoming to other Arabs (Mosul has a long Arab-nationalist history).
The Proposed Baghdad Renaissance Plan, is a 25-year scheme, designed by architect Hisham N. Ashkouri to transform 9 km² of silt deposits into an "an up-market commercial and residential neighborhood" astride the Tigris River in central Baghdad, as well as nearby Tahrir Square. Tahrir Square was originally part of the central business district of baghdad, and Phase I of the plan focuses on the redevelopment of this area. When finished, the "commerce, banking, medical, housing, broadcast and IT, exhibition, conventions and cultural centers" of which the plan is comprised would be occupied by up to one-half million people. The project received encouragement by the U.S. Department of Commerce as well as other US and Middle East organizations. It is a vision for the future of Baghdad, Iraq and the region. A smaller-scale proposal of Dr. Ashkouri's is the Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center, a high-rise hotel and movie theater complex which would be Baghdad's first skyscraper.
The Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center:
The Sindbad Hotel Complex and Conference Center was designed by architect Hisham N. Ashkouri in 2004 to be the first new high-rise hotel, conference center and movie theater complex in modern Baghdad, as a bold and visible symbol of the reconstruction of Iraq. At the ground level, the Sindbad Hotel Complex houses a restaurant and grand entryway. Above that is a two level movie theater complex and conference center. The main body of this new addition to Iraq’s skyline and symbol of its rebirth as a modern nation is comprised of twenty floors of standard hotel rooms and luxury suites. Topping it all off is a rooftop restaurant reminiscent of nomadic tents, offering a spectacular view of the Tigris River and the city below. This new commercial center will become an important symbol for the New Iraq. Not only will it be a place for gathering and recreation, and a place to conduct the business of the emerging Iraqi economy, but it will also be an employer of several hundred construction workers and after construction will employ several hundred more citizens in an ongoing capacity.
Total project cost was estimated in 2005 to be approximately $113 M USD.
The Baghdad Tahrir Square Development is the first phase in architect Hisham N. Ashkouri's (ARKADD) proposed Baghdad Renaissance Plan. Based around an established traffic circle on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad's Central Business District, the proposed development would develop just under 150,000 square meters at a cost of approximately $860M. Included would be hotel, office, retail and residential space.
The first component is Tahrir Circle, an eight story cultural center with a theater situated in the courtyard of the building. The next part of the development is office complex A, which forms one point of a triangular configuration of office complexes, along with B and C. A forty-two-story hotel sits in the center of the triangle as the geographic and aesthetic centerpiece of the development. The hotel and office buildings rest on a three level retail, parks, and recreation concourse. The entire cost of the Tahrir Square Development is projected to be $860 million.
Economics and Financing: The Current economic conditions in Baghdad are ripe for a new infusion of development with financial resources matching that, which can be found in new developments such as the one in Dubai. The designs allow for the private sector to take the initiative to invest in new buildings to be part of the commercial and other developments, and to pay over time the cost of the land development, long-term lease and the necessary infrastructure required for their specific sites. The design projects the Baghdad Renaissance Plan total construction cost of $13-14 billion to generate a profit of 20-30% per year.
Baaghdad is now such a mess that i dont think it will happen.
Baaghdad is beeing divided with a sunni West and shia East,
and iraq will be divided because there is no solution to the issue now only in division
Project: ERBIL ROTANA HOTEL Location: Kurdistan Iraq (Northern Iraq) Rooms: 205 Cost: $55m
Beirut, Lebanon - “Malia”, the prominent Lebanese holding group and “Rotana Hotels” the leading Hotel Management Company in the Middle East, announced the signing of a partnership agreement for the management of a 5 star 205 roomed hotel in the city of Erbil, located in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The US$55 million plus hotel will be among a series of projects to be launched by Malia Holding through its tourism investment affiliated company,” Hotel Line”,.
This announcement took place during a press conference held at the Gefinor Rotana Hotel in Beirut during which Mr. Jacques Jean Sarraf, President of Malia Holding sal and Mr. Selim El Zyr, President & CEO for Rotana Hotels presented full details of this milestone project.
The event attended by local and regional media executives, highlighted Malia’s vision to expand beyond the local markets, in search of strategic regional investment opportunities. Malia’s quest for excellence made its decision to partner with Rotana Hotels, a natural selection.
Malia’s plans to invest in Erbil stem from the city’s economic, social and political climate which makes it an ideal destination for investments, particularly in tourism.
The Kurdistan area of Iraq has in fact gained a worldwide reputation of being a gateway to Iraq, a stable and thriving area with an increasingly prosperous population of 5 million. The region has 2 new international airports, a liberal foreign investment law that offers foreign investors.
The 5 star Erbil Rotana Hotel will be built on a premium 20,000 m² parcel of land strategically located in front of the large Sami Rahman park and between the convention center and Erbil Exhibition Fair. In addition to the 205 rooms and suites, the property will feature, among others, restaurants and complete recreational areas including Bodylines health and fitness club and a swimming pool.
Commenting on this announcement, Mr. Jacques Jean Sarraf, President of Malia Holding sal expressed confidence and excitement in the new formed partnership saying that “The prospects of the Erbil project will also benefit the people of Iraq through the creation of hundreds of jobs. Malia is enthusiastic about developments in the Kurdistan and keen on taking an active role in shaping the outlook of tourism and helping rebuild a strong and solid economy in Iraq”.
Lebanese partners plan first plush hotel in Iraqi Kurdistan
Lebanese partners plan first plush hotel in Iraqi Kurdistan
Five-star facility expected to cost about $55 million
By Mirvat Ammouri
Special to The Daily Star
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
BEIRUT: A Lebanese group unveiled plans Monday to build the first five-star hotel in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. Malia Group and Rotana Hotels announced the signing of a partnership agreement for the construction of a $55 million hotel in the city of Irbil in Iraqi Kurdistan at a news conference in the Rotana Hotel in Hamra.
The Irbil hotel should open in October 2009 and will be owned by Malia subsidiary Hotel Line and managed by Rotana, said Malia Group president Jacques Sarraf and Rotana Hotels president and CEO Selim al-Zyr.
The 205-room hotel will feature five-star amenities such as a pool, ballroom, restaurants, conference halls and other recreational facilities. It will be built on 20,000 square meters and will cater to both businesspeople and regional and international tourists.
The workforce will consist of both Lebanese and Kurds. Trained experts in different fields of the hospitality sector will transfer to Irbil to begin construction and oversee operations, while at the same time Kurds will be trained and hired, each in his or her respective field. Therefore, the project will help create jobs for Kurds and expand the job prospects for a few Lebanese citizens looking to extend their efforts in the Middle East.
The primary investor in the project is Malia Holding. "Potential investors, however ... are still welcome," said Sarraf.
The aim of the alliance is to add the tourism sector to Malia's interests in the Middle East by capitalizing on the brand equity that Rotana has created over the years in the region.
Both companies said their objective was to expand their operations and influence inside the Middle East. The presidents of both companies explained their vision of a successful venture in Iraq, specifically Irbil, which has been considered recently by many business men to be the gateway to Iraq. http://www.dailystar.com.lb
"There is great synergy from the Malia-Rotana team" Sarraf told journalists.
The alliance hopes to combine Malia's experience in Iraq since 1997 and in Irbil since 2003, with the experience Rotana has in the hospitality industry to create a venture that, according to both presidents, will be the first of many in Iraq.
Growth forecasts of the Kurdistan region, coupled with stability and government support for investors through tax relief and other incentives, triggered interest in the area.
Iraqi Kurdish officials are keen to have tourism play a more important part in the region's economy. The opening of a new international airport in Irbil, and increasingly well developed and regulated banking and financing sectors are expected to facilitate the hotel venture's future operations.
Mostly free from the violence that affects many parts of Iraq, Kurdistan has been relatively peaceful in the wake of the US-led invasion in 2003.
Malia Group, first founded in 1935, is a leading Lebanese organization, consolidating subsidiary companies dealing in the production of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, tobacco, food and other consumer products, marketing and distribution, and recently in tourism.
Rotana Hotels, founded in 1992, is a Middle East-born hospitality firm operating in many Arab countries, including Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Jordan, and Sudan, and currently has 29 more hotels under construction, which will make it the largest hotel operator in the region.
wow i read ur comment and tried to remember the pre occupation iraq.
most of all the image of iraq and how that changed .the comparison will bring tears to ur eyes.
from a great and very modern country that is the first in the region . strong and advanced. to.................this.
nowadays a small hotel in a seperatist enclave in iraq is considered a reason to rejoice . do u remember when iraq was about to put a satellite in orbit . do u remember the iraq with a local nuclear program .
from space age to stone age ...............thank u usa.
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