The first phase of the 200,000 m2 Erbil Business and Trade Center’s (EBTC) Justice Tower, a 37-floor mixed-use development comprising a luxury hotel, a grouping of international restaurants called Café Village, and luxury offices, is set to finish construction and façade work in the second quarter of 2015. The project’s developer, IZ Development, predicts it will reach completion in the fourth quarter of 2015 at a total cost of $200 million, obtained primarily from the Nasri Group of Companies in conjunction with local investors.
Ihsan Zangana, the CEO of IZ Development, sees it as a new landmark not just for Erbil, but also for the whole of the Kurdistan Region and greater Iraq. Once finished, he predicts it will be the largest hotel in Iraq as well as the largest tower in the country. “The building’s specifications match the ambitious scale of our vision. The EBTC will contain 1,100 offices ranging in size from 55 m2 to 4800 m2 that cater to local contractors and businesses as well as international corporations. Offices will be available to buy or to rent,” Zangana says. Although construction will not be finished before late 2015, Zangana predicts that around 200 offices will be completed and available on the lower floors of the building by the time the first phase of construction work is finished in the middle of the year. According to IZ Development, which has been brought in by the Nasri Group of Companies (NGC) to handle sales, marketing, strategic planning, and business development for the project, foreign investors from the Middle East and farther afield have already expressed interest in office space at the site that is currently for sale. Once completed, the company will handle security, safety, cleaning, and maintenance for the EBTC’s offices.
The complex will also boast a 360-room five-star luxury hotel tailored to business travelers. Here as well, those behind the EBTC aim to set their development apart. Radisson Blu will operate the site’s centerpiece hotel. The hotel will contain 20 event spaces that range in size from smaller 20-person meeting rooms to an 1,800-person capacity ballroom capable of hosting large conferences.
The third and final component of the EBTC is Café Village, a collection of 16 cafés and restaurants that will occupy the ground floor of the tower currently under construction. Café Village will showcase a variety of international food brands that are making their first foray into the market in Kurdistan. These include France’s La Tartine and Canadian coffee shop Second Cup, both of which have signed on to open outlets in the development, as well as a restaurant specializing in Persian food.
The team led by the NGC that is building the EBTC has left its mark elsewhere in Erbil and across Kurdistan. It is currently working on the Bazaar Nishtiman project, a collection of 2,000 shops and offices of varying sizes under construction at the heart of Erbil near the landmark Citadel. On the outskirts of the city near EIA, the NGC has already completed the Dream City project, a gated compound containing around 600 villas, some of which have been reserved for personnel from the oil and gas industry, as well as an international school and restaurants. Beyond the confines of Erbil, the group plans to replicate its Dream City concept in the northwest city of Zakho, where it has revealed designs for a compound of residential villas, schools, restaurants, malls, and clinics.