Ssangyong and Besix win contract for $1.4 billion Royal Atlantis resort project in Dubai

Ssangyong Engineering & Construction is set to build the new US$1.4 billion Royal Atlantis resort at Palm Jumeirah alongside contractor Besix (Belhasa Six Construct).

The company’s Middle East managing director, Joon Hun Kim, confirmed that it had been awarded the project for the resort, which he said “should be another landmark for Dubai”.

The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences will be built for Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), next to its existing Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah.

The project, which has been designed by the architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, will have 780 guest rooms and suites and 232 serviced residences. It will be 46 storeys tall.

Ssangyong Engineering & Construction (E&C) is a South Korean construction company which has had a presence in the Middle East since the 1980s and in Dubai since 1997, when a previous joint venture with Besix resulted in the completion of the hotel component of Emirates Towers. Its last project to be completed in the region was the Grand Hyatt in 2003, on which it made a loss. It subsequently concentrated on projects in South East Asia, but retained a branch office in the emirate.

Financial problems in its home market related to stalled property projects also led it to apply for court receivership to reschedule debts in late 2013, and ICD subsequently bought a controlling stake in the company last year for a reported 2 billion Korean won (Dh666.7 million).

Since then, it has renewed its focus on the region. Last month, its joint venture with Brookfield Multiplex was named as main contractor for the $1bn ICD Brookfield Place tower being built at DIFC.

However, despite reports to the contrary in Korean media in December, it has not yet landed a deal to build the three-tower Palm Gateway complex above the Palm Monorail Gateway terminal. The three-tower complex will contain 1,313 apartments.

Mr Kim said that it had submitted a bid alongside JV partner China State Construction Engineering Corporation, but that Nakheel “is still in the process” of evaluating bids.

“It’s an open tender. It’s not through any special arrangement,” he said.

Mr Kim said that last year’s acquisition of Ssangyong E&C by ICD had given it greater confidence in bidding for other projects in the region, including potential airport and infrastructure work.

“We would like to contribute our part to help the Dubai government’s preparation for 2020 Expo,” he said. “In the Middle East, the most risk for projects come from the owners’ side. But we have no kind of risk here in Dubai. That’s a big advantage.”

Elsewhere in the GCC, it is targeting new projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

It has formed a joint venture with Saudi Binladin Group to bid for “two or three” stadium construction projects for ­Qatar’s Fifa 2022 World Cup.

“Hopefully, we will get at least one,” said Mr Kim. “We have experience of building Olympic and World Cup stadiums, even though it is more than 10 years ago.”

Neither Besix nor ICD replied to requests for comment.

Nakheel’s Palm Gateway project was unveiled in 2008, but was relaunched as a luxury residential project at Cityscape Global in Dubai in September 2014. Tenders for the project were initially launched in December 2014 with a view to bids being submitted by March, but this was later extended to May 2015.

A spokesman for Nakheel confirmed that it has yet to award a contract for the project.

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