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Kurdistan’s answer to the Burj Al Arab
This 39-floor building is being touted as northern Iraq’s take on Dubai’s famous ‘seven star’ hotel. But critics say the development doesn’t serve the needs of locals.
March 16, 2010 6:44 by Tanya Goudsouzian
Critics of the project say that such a large-scale venture is premature and that $150 million could have been better spent on meeting the needs of the local populace, who earn average monthly salaries of $500 and make do with a 12-hour-daily ration of electricity.
Mustafa is also in the process of building a 400-bed hospital, which although it will be private, will fund a charitable foundation to help cover the needs of those who cannot afford health care.
In recent years, there has been growing frustration among residents of Suleimanieh that the neighboring city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region, has attracted the majority of foreign investment. Soaring silver towers now grace the urban landscape of Erbil, as well as clusters of de facto commercial zones, such as English Village and American Village, which house the regional representation offices of the likes of LG and Ernst & Young. Suleimanieh, residents say, has been left behind.
Kamran Ahmed Abdulla, minister of planning and reconstruction for the Kurdistan Regional Government, said: “We are currently surveying Kurdistan’s infrastructure, so we can evaluate the needs of the region. We can then develop a plan to improve our infrastructure.”
Additional reporting by Lara Fatah in Suleimanieh, Kurdistan
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