Ramallah, April 20, 2008: Bayti Real Estate Investment Company announced today the signing of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority formally structuring the public-private partnership that will guide the development of Rawabi, the first Palestinian planned community.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Kamal Hassouneh, Minister of Public Works and Housing, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and by Bayti Chairman Bashar Masri. The agreement commits the PA to facilitate the creation of the critical infrastructure needed for the new town; including roads, electricity, water supply and wastewater disposal. The PA also affirms through the agreement its commitment to support the construction of public facilities in Rawabi such as schools and a hospital that will serve adjacent towns and villages as well as the new community.
Both parties agreed to form a temporary joint council to include members of all involved ministries and Bayti management representatives. The joint council will monitor and follow up on local implementation of the project to ensure that development moves forward in accordance with the plans approved by the Higher Planning Council.
The town will be situated north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. It will feature 5000 affordable housing units providing residence alternatives for up to 25,000 Palestinians. Additional residential and commercial units slated for subsequent construction phases will ultimately serve a town with a population of 40,000.
Rawabi’s residential areas will be constructed around a central commercial district featuring a pedestrian promenade for shops and restaurants. Banks, grocery stores, medical offices and professional service providers will also be situated within the commercial zone. The town will offer a range of amenities including community playgrounds, walking trails, a hospital, a hotel, a mall, a library and a movie cinema.
The Palestinian government’s Three-Year Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) sets forth policies intended to support and encourage private sector developers such as Bayti and large public-private initiatives like Rawabi. The Rawabi project is expected to provide thousands of Palestinian families with a badly-needed housing alternative at affordable prices which will improve living conditions for Palestinians. Thousands of jobs will also be created.
The PA acknowledges a responsibility to promote private sector initiatives by creating a policy framework designed to facilitate growth. H.E. Kamel Hassouneh said, “The primary beneficiaries of Rawabi are the Palestinian people. Thus, we plan to do all we can at the government level to clear the path of unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. The faster Bayti achieves its goals, the sooner the average citizen will reap the benefits of that success.”
Bayti recruited a team of local engineers and contracted the services of local and international planners to develop the preliminary plans for Rawabi. Chairman Bashar Masri is confident that large-scale development projects like Rawabi will invigorate the Palestinian economy as a whole, and that the neighboring towns and villages will benefit greatly from access to Rawabi’s modern services and infrastructure. Masri stated, “We are in active discussions with a number of interested investors eager to contribute to the recovery and expansion of the Palestinian economy. He added, “The support of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad helped put Rawabi on a fast track implementation schedule. The Palestinian leadership is to be commended for its continued support of private sector efforts to revive the economy despite the many obstacles they face as result of the negative political situation.”