A new Muscat is emerging
By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: March 20 – A new downtown business hub is gradually emerging in the Bausher-Airport Heights belt, which started taking shape since the beginning of this decade. The locality, known for small-medium industries and warehouses, offers more positives than the old downtown for its proximity to the Muscat International Airport, Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) and landmark projects of the future. For many years, the CBD-MBD belt in Ruwi was the busy business hub of Muscat. CBD was also home to most corporate headquarters in the area, including that of banks and the Central Bank. The Muscat Securities Market and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are also situated in the area.
But the new hub area is easy accessible to Muscat Expressway and the work-in progress Batinah Expressway project.
According to real estate experts in Muscat, “Muscat has to grow towards the north and this area has proximity both to the airport as well as the Muscat Expressway. Lots of new luxury residential complexes are also coming up in the vicinity, making it a new alternative for a new downtown.”
“This area was once a dusty warehouse bowl on one side, but that has changed now. You see most of the projects announced in recent times have been here,” said Moshin al Balushi, who has seen this area growing with stature since his childhood.
Some of the landmark projects are expected to come up on this belt.
Mall of Oman: When ready in 2020, the mall will feature 350 retail outlets, the largest snow-park, with an 8,000m2 play area, and the largest Vox Cinemas and Magic Planet, a 13,200 sqm Carrefour hypermarket and a 292 room hotel.
NBO HQ: The nine-storey building near the Azaiba signal on the Sultan Qaboos Street will offer 50,000 sqm. Spread over two basements, the new building will have a massive car parking facility that can accommodate around 560 cars.
IdealMded Muscat Hospital: The mutlti-specialty hospital will come up in Ghubra overlooking the Sultan Qaboos Street. To be completed by 2020, spread over 10,000 sqm of land, the six-storey hospital will have 100 beds and 43 medical clinics and centres of excellence in various medical specialties. Oman & Emirates Investment Holding and Al Khonji Holding have announced a hospital to be run by Spanish healthcare provider and 40 European doctors and nurses will be brought in to staff the hospital, in addition to European administrators. OEIH’s head office in Ghala will be a nine-storey structure, which will accommodate its head office and other offices.
Movenpick: The first Movenpick Hotel (four-star) in Muscat is expected to come up in Ghala as part of a mixed-use development project using the pension fund. The project will include a serviced apartments, shopping areas, restaurants and tourist facilities and offices spaces. The project will offer 30,777sqm of commercial office space spread across four floors, three-storey underground parking with a stand for 1,581 cars.
Muscat University is expected to offer programmes that combine academic rigour with relevance to the world of work.
Initially Muscat University will be located opposite the Avenues Mall in central Muscat. The permanent campus has been planned for construction in the coming years on land located in Airport Heights.
Qatar Airways has begun work on its headquarters building in Azaiba.
The Boulevard at Muscat Hills will feature corporate offices, commercial, retail and residential spaces and a pedestrian-only area which will be 32m wide and 665m long with shopping, dining and leisure outlets.