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Reconstruction work on Amman's New Downtown project in the 'Abdali area is under way, and is scheduled for completion by April 2006. The 'Abdali Investment and Development Company so far has managed to sell 75% of the available commercial plots at the 'Abdali development project, which seeks to transform the area into a 30 hectare high-tech hub in the heart of the capital. The project will include 320,000 square meters to be developed by the company itself, 510,000 square meters to be sold to private developers and investors, 140,000 square meters to be occupied by the American University in Amman, and 60,000 square meters to be occupied by the King Hussein Memorial Library and an art center. The project also includes several commercial towers, university student, faculty, and staff accommodations, 480,000 square meters of mid-level office buildings, a legal district, a medical district, a 200,000 square-meter commercial district, and 150,000 square meters of luxury housing apartments. (Source: The Jordan Times, April 5 and 10, 2005 and al-Ra'i, April 17, 2005)
The Ministry of Social Development completed a project that includes renovating and constructing homes for 515 underprivileged families across the Kingdom. The project is part of an initiative designed to improve living conditions amongst the country's poor. The cost of construction and rehabilitation, which are part of the first and second phases of the ministry's Housing Development Project, is estimated at 3.25 million JD (around 4.6 million $US). The families that received new or refurbished homes were identified in a survey designed to assess living conditions for poor families across the Kingdom. Most of these families used to live in tents or shacks that had deteriorated over the years and were no longer safe for habitation. The survey identified around 11,130 needy families whose dilapidated homes required rehabilitation or that needed new homes. Once the necessary funds are available, the ministry plans to begin similar renovation and reconstruction work on other dilapidated homes under phase III of the project. (Source: The Jordan Times, April 7, 2005)
The new Saraya Museum in Irbid, which will display most of the governorate's antiquities, is set to open upon completion of final preparations by the Department of Antiquities. Dar al-Saraya, the historic building that will house the museum, dates back to the Ottoman period, and was first used as the Ottoman ruler's headquarters in 1884. It was then transformed and used as a prison until 1993, after which the Department of Antiquities began restoration and maintenance work of the building. More than 4,000 artifacts dating as far back as 10,000 BC will be displayed in the two-storey building. Items exhibited will include tools and utensils made of clay, glass, stone, and bronze, as well as mosaics from various historical eras. (Source: The Jordan Times, April 14, 2005)
Initiation of Projects
The Greater Amman Municipality donated 100,000 JD (140,000 $US) to the Tafila Development Corporation for the construction of a children's park in the southern city of Tafila. The corporation recently completed the construction of the Queen Rania Center in Tafila, which is situated on a 1.1-hectare site in the midst of a pine and cypress forest, and includes exhibition halls, a children’s library, and a multipurpose hall with a 600-person capacity. The center was funded by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 2, 2005)
The Greater Amman Municipality and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing initiated construction on the Khalda Intersection. The 8.5 million JD (around 12 million $US) project (of which 450,000 JD (around 630,000 $US) will be for infrastructure reconstruction) is estimated to take 140 working days for completion, and will have a crew of 400 laborers working around the clock. The project consists of a 400-meter, 4-lane overpass along Wasfi al-Tall Street, and a 420-meter, 4-lane underpass along King Abdallah II Street. A roundabout also will be constructed to facilitate the movement of traffic in various directions. The roundabout will feature a landscaping scheme, and the walls of the underpass will be decorated with local colored stone. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 3, 2005)
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development is providing support for the construction of the new Aqaba Hospital in the amount of 51 million JD (72 million $US). The hospital, which will cover an area of 318,000 square meters, will include 200 beds and is intended to support a population of 110,000 inhabitants. It also will include operation rooms as well as the necessary equipment and facilities. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 14, 2005)
The construction of the 28-kilometer commuter railway connecting the Raghadan area in downtown Amman with the city of Zarqa is expected to start in September 2005. The project is expected to be completed within two years from the date of the initiation of construction. The estimated number of passengers shuttling between the two cities daily exceeds 140,000 people. The commuter train, which will run on a dual-track railway, will be powered by electricity, thus providing a more environment-friendly solution in comparison to trains operating on diesel. (Source: The Jordan Times, April 14, 2005)
Construction work started on the German Jordanian University in Mushaqqar, northwest of the city of Madaba, on a 20-hectare site. The university will have a capacity of 5,000 students, and is expected to open its doors to students in the fall of 2005. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 26, 2005)
Preliminary designs for the new bus terminal to be constructed in the Tariq area along Jordan Street have been completed. The new bus terminal is intended to replace the one in 'Abdali, which will be incorporated into the 'Abdali development project. The final designs are expected to be ready by the end of May 2005. The 27,000 square-meter terminal will accommodate all 13 existing bus lines connecting Amman to the northern parts of the country. These lines, which include a fleet of 144 big buses, 52 small buses, and 37 service cars, connect Amman to Jarash, Ajlun, Mafraq, Irbid and the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Kufr 'Uwwan, Kafranjah, and the Gaza Refugee Camp. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 27, 2005)
The Consolidated Consultants–Jafar Tukan Architect were commissioned to design the Areen Resort in Bahrain for the Gulf Finance House. The project will occupy 58,000 square meters, and will include a 5-star hotel, a health club, reception facilities, a therapy center, and an aqua park.
Bitar Consultants were commissioned to design phase I of the New Amman Customs Clearance Center for the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. The project consists of an inland port adjacent to the Eastern Ring Road along Amman. This project is part of the Amman Development Corridor.
The Jordanian government signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development for funding the construction of phase II of the Pediatric Hospital in al-Hussein Medical City for 5.7 million JD (8 million $US). This agreement is an extension of the first agreement signed in July 2003 for funding the project for 8.5 million JD (12 million $US). The total estimated cost of the project, which will cover an area of 27,000 square meters, is around 30 million JD (42 million $US). The Opec Fund for International Development is expected to fund the project for another 10.6 million JD (15 million $US). Phase I of the project included the construction of a 135-bed general hospital for 10.6 million JD (15 million $US). Phase II will include facilities for pediatric sub-specialties including cardiac, ENT, dental, and plastic surgery. The cost of this phase is estimated at 10.6 million JD (15 million $US). The scope of work includes constructing a five-storey hospital. Lebanon's Dar al-Handasah and its US affiliate Perkins + Will are the design consultants for the project. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works for the project will be carried out by Drake & Scull International, and the Jordanian MID Contracting will be responsible for civil works. Construction work on the hospital project is already under way and is scheduled for completion by January 2007. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 14 and The Jordan Times, April 6, 2005)
Three companies signed agreements with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) for the construction of 3 hotels within the Tala Bay project. The hotels will include a total of 920 rooms, and are expected to cost about 100 million JD (around 140 million $US). According to the agreements, the Jordanian Zara Investment (Holding) Company will construct a 350-room hotel; the Qatari al-Qamar Investment will construct a 320-room hotel; and the Egyptian Golden Coast Investment Company will construct a 250-room hotel. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 28, 2005)
The department of architecture at the Jordan University for Science and Technology (JUST) held three lectures as part of its ongoing lecture series. The first lecture was by Mohammad Yaghan, Dean of the Department of Arts and Architecture at Petra University, entitled Muqarnas Pre-Designed Erecting Units. The second was by Arif Hasan, Chairman of the Urban Resource Centre and the Orangi Pilot Project-Research & Training Institute in Karachi, entitled Professional Evolution: from Architecture to Development. The third was by Wael Samhouri, Head of the Department of History & Theory of Architecture at the University of Damascus, entitled 2004 Cityscape Architectural Review Winning Award Proposal for the Eastern Park of Damascus.
The Department of Art and Architecture at Petra University in Amman held an Art and Architecture Week. The four-day event included lectures, exhibitions of the art and architectural work of students and teaching staff, a book exhibition, and a photography exhibition. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 2005)
An exhibition entitled An Arab Family in Berlin was organized at the ifa-gallery in Berlin. The exhibition featured the works of noted Jordanian architect Rasem Badran and his son Jamal, also an architect; art and calligraphy works by artist Jamal Badran (Rasem Badran's father); a photography exhibition by artist Samira Badran (Rasem Badran's sister); and a theatrical work by Ola Badran (Rasem Badran's daughter). Rasem Badran had studied architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. (Source: al-Ra'i, April 9, 2005)
The Ministry of Public Works and Housing is planning to build a permanent station for carrying out maintenance and repair work on the Aqaba-Wadi Araba-Amman highway at a cost of 500,000 JD (700,000 $US). In addition, 6.5 million JD (around 9 million $US) have been allocated for the maintenance of roads inside the city of Aqaba for 2005. (Source: The Jordan Times, April, 1, 2005)
The establishment of the 100 million JD (140 million $US) real estate development company Saraya Jordan was announced. The company will unveil its first project in Jordan during the World Economic Forum scheduled to take place at the Dead Sea in May. (Source: The Jordan Times, April 18, 2005)
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