UAE developer launches $10 billion Jordan Red Sea project

Abu Dhabi-based developer Al Maabar International Investments said Thursday it launched a $10 billion tourism and real estate venture in a Jordanian Red Sea resort, showing that while the global economic crunch has hammered many such mega-projects in the region, it hasn't halted them entirely. The announcement came just days after the United Arab Emirates' federal government said it was bailing out the emirate of Dubai. The glitzy city-state famed for its palm-shaped islands and indoor ski slopes appeared finally to be succumbing to the world credit crunch, with developers scaling back or delaying mega-projects amid financing woes and mounting debt. Al Maabar, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi's five leading real estate developers and an investment firm, said the 3.2 square kilometer (1.24 square mile) Marsa Zayed project in the resort of Aqaba was the biggest real estate and tourism project ever launched in Jordan. The project is a mixed-use waterfront development including high-rise residential towers, retail, business and financial districts, as well as hotels. The company's statement said the project would also include a cruise ship terminal. Work on the first phase is to begin in mid-2010.