With a major coastline along the Mediterranean Sea and also one of the favorite destinations for European tourists, Algeria is also another focus area for Hill International in North Africa. Just last month, the company announced it had received a contract extension from Societe Algero-Emiratie de Promotion Immobiliere to continue providing project management services related to the ongoing construction of the Forum Al Djazair project. The 18-month extension has an estimated value to Hill of about $7.3 million, with the project calling for the construction of four residential towers, three business towers, a commercial center, 15 luxury villas, a 270-key, five-star hotel and a 10-story hotel and apartment building. The extension comes on the back of Hill International being awarded an original 30-month contract in July 2012 for $5.7 million by the same client.
Called Phases 1 and 2, the mixed-use development included four residential towers of 22 stories each, waterfront apartments, retail outlets, three office towers, luxury villas and entertainment facilities. “Forum al Djazair is one of the biggest projects in Algeria and will give us further good experience in that country,” said Waleed Abdel Fattah, Senior Vice President and North Africa Regional Manager for Hill’s Project Management Group. “Our operations in Algeria and throughout North Africa continue to expand thanks to the hard work of our dedicated professionals.” Besides some iconic developments like the $900 million Wessal Bouregreg development and the Attijariwafa Bank mixed-use developments that Hill is currently carrying out in neighboring Morocco, in Algeria the company has also worked earlier on the Ibis hotel project. “The Forum al Djazair contract will now give us a good presence in Algeria and will likely result is opening up other doors,” he said, noting besides being a major real estate development Forum al Djazair is also one of the biggest tourism projects on the Mediterranean.
In line with its efforts to further expand its North Africa, Hill International opened an office in Algeria in 2012. The company will now seek opportunities in the real estate and tourism sectors, besides other sectors of the economy where investments are planned by either the government or the private sector, Abdel Fattah added. The development of the tourism sector in Algeria had previously been hampered by a lack of facilities, but since 2004 a broad tourism development strategy has been implemented resulting in many hotels of a high modern standard being built. Besides, there are also several UNESCO world heritage sites in Algeria that include: Al Qalaa of Beni Hammad, the first capital of the Hammadid empire, Tipasa, a Phoenician and later Roman town; and Djemila and Timgad, both Roman ruins; M’Zab Valley, a limestone valley containing a large urbanized oasis; and the Casbah of Algiers, which is an important citadel. The only natural world heritage site is the Tassili n’Ajjer, a mountain range. “There are several prospects of developing tourism in Algeria both along these inland world heritage sites and also the beachfront along the Mediterranean Sea. Given our experience in carrying out projects globally, we will be actively pursuing real estate developments in not only Algeria but also Morocco,” Abdel Fattah said.
By Ashok Dutta