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40,000 new homes for Karbala, Iraq

Abu Dhabi’s Bloom Properties has signed a deal to build 40,000 housing units in the troubled Shia holy city of Karbala, in Iraq.

One of the country’s largest real estate projects, the 20 sq km development at Lake Razaza is intended to be home to up to 250,000 people, and will include offices, clinics, schools, mosques and related infrastructure.

“Our strategy is to take the holy city to a new level by improving the distribution of population density and urban centres and shaping it into a vibrant metropolis,” said Dr Sami Al Araji, chairman of Iraq's National Investment Commission, at a signing ceremony on 3 March, attended by Iraq’s prime minister Nouri Al Maliki.

Officials sign off one of Iraq’s largest real estate projects to date

Bloom Properties is the real estate arm of Abu Dhabi-based National Holding, an investment company reportedly owned by members of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

According to the agreement, the “Shores of Karbala” development will be built in various phases over eight years.

Last year Iraq signed a contract worth $7.75bn with South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction company to build 100,000 housing units at Bismayah New City, on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Karbala, a city of approximately 530,000, is home to the Imam Hussein Shrine, which is visited by millions of Shia Muslims every year. The city is also a frequently a target for terrorists, with fatal bomb blasts occuring in March and February this year.