Dubai: The raft foundation of Saudi Arabia’s Al Jawharah Tower has been completed, the project’s developer Damac Properties said yesterday.

Drake & Scull, the project’s main contractors, has finished foundation work at the Jeddah-based development and completed all basement levels.

Al Jawharah Tower is a planned 48-storey building on the Jeddah Corniche, which lies on the coast of the Red Sea. The tower will be one of Jeddah’s most iconic buildings as its external facade creates reflective panels that create illusionary effects by dispersing and refracting light.

Niall McLoughlin, senior vice-president of Damac Properties, said: “This is a major milestone in the construction of Al Jawharah Tower. The foundations are crucial for the super-structure but they take time to complete.

“Work will now really begin to accelerate and it should be a floor a week from this point forward. The sheer volumes of raw materials used in the foundations are staggering.

“Four hundred twenty tonnes of steel is the equivalent of more than 400 motor vehicles and 7,000 cubic metres of concrete; it would be enough to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools.”
Real estate law

Al Jawharah is being constructed in four main stages. The first phase is defined as the basement to the ground floor, stage two to the health club level, stage three to level 20 and stage four to the top floor.

The total development cost of the project, which is scheduled for delivery in June 2013, is 450 million Saudi riyals (Dh440 million).
Damac Properties said it was among the first companies to be granted an official licence to develop and sell properties off-plan under the jurisdiction of Saudi’s new real estate law.

Soraka Al Khatib, Co-Head of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Saudi Arabia office, said Damac had cleared a major hurdle by successfully acquiring the necessary credentials to sell off-plan.

“The Jawharah Tower project had been on hold for some time. However, Damac received approval to sell off-plan and they have bounced back more aggressively,” he said.

“Around 70 per cent of the project’s 300 units have already been sold. The cheapest unit — for a one bedroom apartment — is approximately 1.8 million Saudi riyals (Dh1.7 million),” he added.

The regulatory framework of Saudi Arabia’s real estate market has been a key focus for the authorities recently.

Value chain: Kingdom tower tops

Real estate is the highest value sector in Saudi Arabia at $347 billion (Dh1.27 trillion), Zawya research showed yesterday.

According to Zawya Projects Monitor, the highest valued project in Saudi Arabia is The Kingdom Tower, valued at $20 billion, followed by Ras Al Zour Power and the Gosi Desalination Plant.

A report from Jones Lang LaSalle said it expected the Jeddah real estate sector to remain competitive.