Lebanon Businessnews News

LAU to open campus
and hospital in Baghdad
Part of major project

by Lebanese developer

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The Lebanese American University (LAU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Al Oufoq for Development and Kasr Al Waha for Development to set up a campus in Baghdad that will include a hospital. It said in a statement that “it remains firmly anchored in Lebanon.”

The LAU project will be implemented in three phases. In the first exploratory phase, the university will study the feasibility of certain academic programs. For this purpose, it will rent premises in Baghdad within eight months to one year to provide its educational services on a temporary basis in order to study the demand of the education market and set its priorities. “Based on the results of phase one, the development of academic facilities would be launched, followed by the establishment of a medical campus that includes a hospital in the third phase,” LAU said.

The LAU campus, which will include different faculties, will be initially offered a plot of a land with an area of 60,000 square meters (m2) free of charge, said Nabil Sawabini, Chairman of Al Oufoq. LAU will be offered an option to buy an additional 30,000 m2 at an affordable price that is lower than market prices, he said. The hospital will also be offered a 20,000 m2 free of charge along with a similar affordable option of 20,000 m2.

In order to finance the project, the university will explore a range of options that will include international and regional investment and development agencies or institutions. LAU President Michel Mawad said that in light of the multifaceted crises in the country the university is exploring options outside the confines of Lebanon in order to strengthen its financial sustainability, especially in different parts of the MENA region.

The campus and hospital will be located within the site of a large-scale real estate project that will be developed by Al Oufoq and its 87 percent-owned Iraqi subsidiary Kasr Al Waha. The project will cover an area of 2.9 million m2 and will be able to accommodate up to 50,000 residents. The overall area of the project will be 1.7 times the size of the Solidere development project in Beirut, according to Sawabini.

The first phase of the project will take three to five years to be completed. Besides the LAU campus and hospital, it will include a mall and an office park in addition to a large gated community, and a hotel. It will also comprise a school for SABIS, the global education network.

The developers are in the final stages of converting the zoning of the site from agricultural to commercial and residential. They are also finalizing the masterplan of the project, especially the first phase.

Al Oufoq for Development is a Lebanese offshore company whose shareholders consist of companies managed by MENA Capital along with other shareholders including Chafiq Tabet and Michael Zammar.
Date Posted: Feb 24, 2022
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