Located in the Lac de Tunis area in the northern suburbs of the Tunis city, Tunis Sports City will combine all the elements of luxury and entertainment for residents and visitors alike, integrating functionality with hospitality in an array of luxury residential towers, business centers, shopping malls, sports complexes, schools, hotels and sports clinics. The crowning jewel of the Tunis Sports City will no doubt be the 18 hole Golf Course, certified by the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) and designed by renowned golf course architect Peter Harradine.
The first phase of the Tunis Sports City started its booking launch with "Cedar". Cedar is a premium residential golfing community, spread over 13 hectares. The Cedar community consists of a vibrant mix of 8 high-rise apartment buildings, 73 standard and grand villas, as well as 4 blocks of low-rise luxury residences; all with spectacular golf course and garden views and well-planned infrastructure and community & recreational facilities. Penthouse apartments feature private gardens and spacious swimming pools.
"On July 10, 2009 Cedar launched its first luxury tower, Burj Almasa, a G+15 residential building of approximately 310,000 square feet. Within the first week of launch, there has been over 90% active bookings and continuing overwhelming response." said Mr. Paul Crosetta, CEO- International, Sports Cities International.
The city's Sports District will comprise state-of-the-art facilities built to the meticulous specifications of international sports bodies and will host academies for a wide range of sports including swimming, track and field, volleyball, and football, among others. This will not only cultivate national sports heroes but also help the development of active and healthy youth in general through grass-roots programs that will encourage broad participation in all types of sports.
"Tunis Sports City, with its environmentally conscious design, innovation and architecture will surely set a benchmark for the real estate market in the region. Once fully developed, Tunis Sports City will become the new address for healthy living in Tunis by local Tunisians and foreigners alike," said Mr Paul Crosetta, CEO- International, Sports Cities International.
To help promote an active and participating lifestyle and to ensure the sound development of world-class athletes, the Tunis Sports City has signed agreements with several international institutes and sports clubs such as Olympique de Marseille and the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) to oversee the sports academies.
"We have a vision of positively impacting individuals, communities and nations internationally by bringing them together through the activity of sport, cultivating economic opportunity and promoting human development", added Mr Crosetta.
Other development opportunities are currently under consideration in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Morocco, India and Vietnam by management at Sport Cities International.
Phase 1 development
The first phase of TSC launched in Tunis on 10 July with the introduction of ‘Cedar’, a 13-hectare residential golfing community. Consisting of eight high-rise apartment buildings, 73 villas and four blocks of low-rise residences, apart from the crown jewel Peter Harradine-designed golf course, Cedar’s key residential project is the 310,000ft² Burj Alamasa.
According to Crosetta, the G+15 residential building received more than 90% active bookings within the first week of its launch in Tunis. Crosetta also specified that the overwhelming majority of bookings have come from Algerian, Tunisian and Libyan nationals but that the properties in TSC would be offered as 100% freehold property for interested expats.
Once the project is complete in 2025, TSC will boast the largest retail shopping centre in North Africa, extensive outdoor social space and groundbreaking hospitality and medical facilities but, for the time being, any retail space included will be just enough to support Phase 1 residents. While all of the Phase 1 buildings promise eco-friendliness in accordance with international architecture standards, how that translates into actual figures has yet to be determined.
“We’ve been working with the Tunisian government to meet the highest standards of environmental friendliness,” explains Victor Shenoda, general manager of design and urban planning for SCI. “We’ll definitely go with LEED but whether that means LEED Platinum of Gold or Silver has not been decided for Cedar. Right now, we’re just focusing on minimising energy consumption as effectively as possible.”
What the future holds
While the massive mixed-use typology has become the norm in several Middle Eastern countries, TSC is breaking the mould in Tunisia—and with the role of trailblazer comes challenges.
“This is a new concept in Tunisia,” explains Crosetta. “We’ve been working with the public and private sectors on different things. It has been difficult but now we’ve got banks partnering with us to provide financing to investors—which is rare.”
Offering fully freehold properties construction of TSC will commence in Q4 2009, with the first of the residential towers to be completed by 2012. The signature 18-hole golf course, which is currently being graded, will be built simultaneously and should begin taking tee times around the 2012 date as well.
Despite questions about the feasibility of investing in a project of this size during these financial times, the Bukhatir Group is unfazed. Citing a report from the IMF regarding the best and most stable places to invest in 2009, SCI staff are quick to point out Tunisia’s #2 ranking.
“This is definitely a great time to invest in North Africa,” says Bukhatir. “The region has remained unaffected by the global crisis and continues to prosper, particularly in the areas of tourism and real estate.”
Not only are Bukhatir Group and SCI confident about building their fourth Sports City in Tunisia, they are strongly considering other locations for their fifth.
“We’re looking to role out the model of TSC in other countries in Africa and Southeast Asia,” explains Crosetta. In fact, according to corporate literature distributed at the launch, SCI is considering Sri Lanka, South Africa, Morocco, India and Vietnam as potential candidate cities for its next development.