USTDA Signs Grants Agreement with Bayti Real Estate Investment Company
Grants will fund Information Communication Technology (ICT) and wastewater feasibility studies for Rawabi
Rawabi, March 15, 2010 - Bashar Masri, Managing Director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, and Ms. Leocadia Zak, Acting Director of the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) signed two grant agreements today in the presence of U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubinstein at the Rawabi construction site. The purpose of the grants is to fund two feasibility studies: one to develop a masterplan for Rawabi’s information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and services and the other to examine the potential for a tertiary waste water treatment facility for the new city and surrounding communities.
The first USTDA grant will fund a detailed feasibility study to assess the potential for development of a state-of-the-art, flexible, cost–effective and scalable ICT infrastructure that will accommodate all of Rawabi’s ICT-related needs for the foreseeable future. The second USTDA grant will assess treatment technologies for wastewater reclamation both within the Rawabi community and for irrigation of agricultural land as well as for industrial use outside of the Rawabi area.
Modern ICT infrastructure and affordable, environmentally sustainable water and wastewater systems are central to the vision that seeks to position Rawabi both as the hub of a knowledge economy and as a successful model of environmentally sustainable residential and commercial development.
Water is generally scarce in the region, and new communities like Rawabi plan to integrate modern water and wastewater technologies to meet anticipated demand from residents of the new city. A sophisticated ICT infrastructure is needed to support long-term job growth and to develop competitive advantages for the Palestinian economy in the global market.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Acting Director of TDA and the Consul General both stressed the U.S. Government’s support of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to address the shortage of affordable housing for the growing Palestinian population.
Bayti’s Bashar Masri noted, “Bayti’s challenge is to balance the need to build housing that is affordable to the average Palestinian with the need to protect and preserve the environment; some of the most advanced technologies are still too expensive to practically incorporate into a city designed to be affordable to young families.” Mr. Masri also underscored the pivotal role that a highly developed ICT infrastructure will play in absorbing the well-educated but underemployed Palestinian workforce.
Bayti Real Estate Investment Company is jointly owned by Qatari Diar (www.qataridiar.com) and Massar International (www.massar.com), two companies with unsurpassed real estate development experience in both regional and international markets. The new city of Rawabi is situated 20 km to the north of Jerusalem, 25 km south of Nablus, and 70 km to the east of Amman, Jordan.
Rawabi’s residential units will initially house up to 25,000 people. Additional residential and commercial units slated for subsequent construction phases will ultimately serve a city with a population of 40,000.
Rawabi’s municipal boundaries encompass 6,300,000 square meters of land, all of which is located in areas within the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction – predominantly in Area (A), as designated by the Oslo agreement. 2.8 km of the planned regional access road from Ramallah to Rawabi will fall within Israeli government-controlled Area (C). Total construction costs are estimated at approximately $700 million.