| Al Batinah Region|
Sunday 1:53 PM
| 29°C, Wind NE at 16 km/h, 34% Humidity|
Now officially known as Al Madina A'Zarqa, though usually referred to by the original project name of Blue City, is a $15 billion project in the Sultanate of Oman. It is spread over 32 square kilometers and 16 kilometers of coastline along the coastal region at Al Sawaadi, 45 minutes from Muscat.
When completed, the city will include 20 hotels, hospitals, and university. It will have shopping centers, marina, and schools. Al Madina A'Zarqa supports the government Vision 2020 in diversifying the Sultanate's economy from fossil fuel. The new city will generate large scale employment upon completion.
Blue City, Oman Wikipedia
Located on a peninsula 30 minutes from Muscat Seeb Airport, Al Madina A"Zarqa is a 32-square-kilometer (12 sq mi) waterfront city being built along 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) of shoreline adjacent to the Gulf of Oman.
One of the largest scale developments in the Middle East, the Al Madina A'Zarqa represents an investment of between $15–$20 billion. The first round of financing was secured through the issuing of a bond note by Bear Stearns on international markets raising $925 million US. The note was rated Baa3 by ratings agency Moody's in March, 2007, following on from a BBB− rating by Fitch when the note was issued. Bear Stearns was subsequently awarded "Middle East Leisure Deal of the Year 2006" by Project Finance for the arranging of the Blue City note.
The organization behind the project is Al Sawadi Investment & Tourism Company (ASIT) which has the endorsement of the government of Oman to bring the development to life.
The first phase is expected to create 7,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs.
"This is why we came into creating this urban economy, to create jobs. We thought about things that the country needs, so we went into hotels, shopping, entertainment, amusement parks and theatres. Furthermore, we will have one of the top universities from the United States, not an affiliation, but a real university," Mr. Issa was quoted in the December 15, 2005 edition of Our World, a USA Today insert.
The Blue City chairman is negotiating with two international hospitals for cancer and heart treatment. "Again this will attract people from the Middle East or Africa to come and be treated here and that will create jobs for nurses, hotels and many other opportunities. This is how we create the economy and this is why the government liked the idea. The Blue City is a tourist project that we converted into a macro-economy."
The project will be financed by the U.S. financial group Oppenheimer. This Oppenheimer company itself has become embroiled in controversy, as it has been forced to admit that it has no involvement with the Oppenheimer fortune of South Africa.(http://www.euromoney.com/Article/1331120/Title.html) "There is more money available here for investment but we did not want to bring in money from the Gulf region. We wanted to be different, so we looked at European and American collaboration and that is good for the country in general. It is good for rating when investors come in from the United States, Britain, or Germany. Our project has helped the rating of the government because of the way we dealt with this." says Mr. Issa.
The project was expected to be completed by 2020. In 2010 the project was close to liquidation, until it was bought eventually in 2012 by the Oman sovereign wealth fund.