Friday, May 12, 2006


In August last year I blogged about a project called Journey of Light which is supposed to come up in Seeb just down the beach from
The Wave. The project has never been in the news here in Oman and though it's been close 10 months I haven't heard anything about it locally. I decided to look it up online and once again it turned out that there's lots of news about it.

To begin with the project has a website: even though the project's name has apparently been changed to Omagine. According to a press release by Alfa International Holdings which owns Journey of Light, Inc:

JOL is continuing to move ahead with its plans for the U.S. 1.2 billion dollar OMAGINE real-estate development project in the Sultanate of Oman (``Oman''). On August 1, 2005, the Ministry of Tourism (``MOT'') of the government of Oman (the ``Government'') and JOL signed a memorandum of understanding (``MOU'') memorializing key legal and commercial aspects for the development of a tourism related project (the ``OMAGINE'' project). On March 1, 2006, JOL made a formal presentation of its plan for the OMAGINE project to a committee of several ministers of the Omani Government. The presentation was favorably received by the committee and JOL management promptly thereafter began discussions with Government officials, the objective of which is to arrive at the terms and conditions of a Development Agreement between the Government and an Omani based Project Company to be formed, of which JOL will be the majority shareholder. JOL management is presently back in Oman continuing such negotiations.

OMAGINE is proposed to be developed on 1 million square meters (equal to approximately 245 acres) of beachfront land facing the Gulf of Oman (the ``OMAGINE Site'') just west of the capital city of Muscat and nearby the Seeb International Airport. OMAGINE is planned to be an integration of cultural, heritage, educational, entertainment and residential components, including: a ``high culture'' theme park containing seven pearl-shaped buildings, each approximately 60 feet in diameter (the ``Pearls'') and associated exhibition buildings (collectively, the ``Landmark''), a five star resort hotel, a four star hotel, a boardwalk, an open air amphitheater and stage, a canal and enclosed harbor area, boat slips, commercial office buildings, shopping and retail establishments, restaurants and open space green areas. All of the foregoing are expected to be owned and/or leased or operated by the Project Company, except that ownership of the Landmark is expected to be transferred to a new company (the ``Landmark Company'') which will be jointly owned by the Government and the Project Company. It is further expected that the Project Company will be hired under a fee based contract by the Landmark Company to operate and manage the Landmark. Additionally, OMAGINE, as presently conceived, includes the construction and sale by the Project Company of approximately 2,000 residences consisting of a combination of villas, town homes and apartments.


Lym said...

Any particular reason for the lack of advertising?

Omar Barsawad said...

There seems to be a duplication of Dubai in many other Arab metropolises. Aden, Salala, Doha, Jedda and even Mukalla, are being modelled after Dubai.

Cann't there be originality? A metropolis based on some thing else, instead of the precarious tourist indutry?

muscati said...

But Dubai itself is one of the most unoriginal cities in the world. Honestly, all the big cities in the world have their own character. What's Dubai's character?

Omar Barsawad said...

Exactly! Dubai has grown too fast, but it is still a 'toddler'; without any specific character. Itself a duplicate of Singapore and a little bit of Hong Kong.

With oil producing Arab countries awash with money now, they can easily give their urban areas new features - instead of competing with each other with: 'free zones' and ports; financial services; tourits complexes; theme parks; and so on. It is the same in Manama too; soon Kuwait might join.

Oman is unique and seems to have the best planning for the future; its economic and environmental policies are impressive. Still, I wish some of the Arab countries can take the Malaysian way and style: depend on oil and tourism, but diversify widely and with foresight.

suonnoch said...

This quote from and April edition of the Houston Chronicle about this project tells me that "The Landmark will be owned and operated by a separate joint venture company (the "Landmark Company") where the majority interest will be owned by the government of Oman who will underwrite all operating losses, if any, of the Landmark." So if it doesn't succeed, the Omani government is to pay?

I visited the website. I can't say that the 3D renderings inspired me. They looked more like artificially illuminated concrete blocks.

Mindazi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Diva said...

Lym, there's still a lot of work to be done on the project before they can even think of starting to advertise.

The project was initially called "City of Lights" and was recently changed to "Omagine". Journey of Light is the developer. A practically identical project was first proposed to Qatar and was refused. So Oman took it up. How's that for originality.

MarcusT55 said...

A mediocre website and lack of advertising does not imply the project is not serious. Adjacent to the Wave, Omagine has everything to become a real hit in the area. Considering Majil Al Futtaim is the largest investor at the WAVE, there must be something good about developing a project in this area.
The Qatar project was not exactly the same, and since it was not accomplished, Omagine's owner was compensated for it.

Through a friend of mine in USA, I was able to invest in Omagine, through their company in the stock market, Alfa (AHDS).
Odds are this will be a great place, and if we have the opportunity to take advantage of this, and invest in it, let it be so.

Anonymous said...

It will be a great project, without doubt. And if anyone has seen the beautiful setting of the site must rest assured of getting a good return on the investment too

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