However, they should - temporarily perhaps - be reassured. The glorious Times of Oman got it wrong, by saying the redevelopment was PDO Heights (see below), home of various run down bungalows and semis that house many of the expats and senior Omanis who work for PDO, and possibly the best piece of real estate in Oman. OHI will actually be redeveloping the small hill known as Burhan Heights, just opposite the Shell Petrol Station, demolishing the old flats, doing some major 'flattening' of the hill, and building said massive development. (Interesting how the Muscat Municipality coincidentally decided to dual the road leading to it. How convenient for OHI!).
Before it was called Burhan Heights, it was called Shanfari villas I think, and was owned by the previous Oil Minister, who subsequently sold it to OHI.
The reason the article caused such panic, of course, is that it is common knowledge that the Ministry of Tourism and others have been salivating for years over the idea of getting their hands on the large chunk of prime real estate that is PDO Camp. It contains possibly the best private beach in Oman, lots of hills, great views, and is (now) in the heart of Muscat. Talk was of 3 hotels (at least), golf course, plus the usual mass of condo and villas. Think of the rivers of cash that baby would enable. Contracts left, right and centre, and perhaps some nice plots of land for those who have been extra good. The area has even been put into the official portfolio of properties the Government holds in their redevelopment department. Although some in the Government were expecting development to begin in 2010, that doesn't look too likely IMHO. The land isn't going anywhere, the Government have their hands rather full with other projects, and neither the oil company nor the Ministry of Oil and Gas are very keen. The camp is a huge part of the reason PDO can attract the skilled expats it needs for the money the offer, and at current oil prices there is still a huge problem getting the right people to come to Oman.
But, eventually, yep, it will happen. Just not right now, despite what crack reporter Mrudu Naik of the Times says.
For the original source of the panic at PDO, thank The Times of Oman
OHI, UAE realtor ETA Star announce luxury township
by Mrudu Naik
Saturday, September 06, 2008 8:30:50 PM Oman Time
MUSCAT — Dubai-based developer ETA Star Properties and Oman’s OHI Group have signed an agreement to launch a premium luxury township in the heart of Oman on the PDO heights.
The “yet to be named” multi-purpose project with residential apartments, offices and retail spaces, blending luxurious living with high levels of convenience will be launched by the end of the year.
The cost of the project is estimated to be RO400 million. The target customers for the project are AGCC nationals. “We would be targeting middle to upper middle class income group as our clients,” said Junaid.
On being asked what the USP of the property would be, Saleh said: “The biggest attraction would be that it is right in the heart of the city unlike other projects. We expect a substantial demand because of the beautiful location. The design of the project will have a lot of Omani touch.”
Stating that the commencement of the construction would start by the end of the year, Junaid said: “It will take 30 months for the project to complete after commencement.”
Informing that the various sized 1000 residential apartments would be housed in many buildings, Saleh clarified that number of floors had not been decided yet.
“Since there is a little bit of relaxation on the number of floors which was earlier restricted to three, we will be discussing with the municipality authorities before deciding on the number of floors,” he said.