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Building boom looks safe as houses

Iran :

A rising urban population and major influx of tourists is fuelling an Iranian building boom.

Apopulation rising to over 70M along with massive migration to Tehran and other big cities has led to an acute urban housing shortage.

Iranian contractors are meeting demand by re-styling themselves as developers. They are teaming up with banks to design, build and finance massive residential and office buildings.

Partana Construction Company formed the PARSA Design & Build Company with another local contractor and an Iranian bank six months ago. It will look to develop high rise residential apartments along the Caspian coastline in northern Iran and in Tehran where the population is said to be rising by around 500,000 a year to reach an estimated 12M.

'We need outside finance and are keen to meet UK firms, ' says managing director of PARSA Mehrdad Anvari. 'It will lead to better management on big projects and enable us to do 50% more.'

Contractors want finance and management skills to build five star hotels catering for a new generation of tourists attracted to a country boasting mountains, jungles, skiing resorts and deserts.

President Khatami's government is reported to be preparing a tourism masterplan funded by the World Tourism Organisation and Iran was set to host International Tourism Day this month.

Most Iranian contractors who spoke to NCE revealed blueprints for big hotel construction.

These include a network of hotels along Iran's main interurban roads that can stretch for up 400km without a major rest area.

The 55% government owned Iranian Tours & Tourism Organisation (ITTO) wants to build branded rest areas across the country including hotels, restaurants, filling stations and shopping facilities. ITTO is looking for a consortium to deliver a £100M design, build and operate investment and has produced a feasibility study for potential investors.

The project would include renovating 500 year old rest areas or 'caravans' along the old silk route that stretches through Iran on its way to China. The stone ruins are set to be transformed into 100 room luxury hotels and complemented with modern facilities.

ITTO managing director Mr A Emami said that Japanese and Italian investors had shown an interest only in part of the plans and that he was keen to talk to British consortia about delivering the whole blueprint. ITTO has a sample of seven rest areas and one renovated silk road caravan in Esfahan to show to investors.

INFOPLUS PARSA Design & Build managing director Mehrdad Anvari 0098 21 878 534. ITTO managing director Mr A. Emami, tel 0098 21 880 1247.

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