Jewel on the crown

Omani Mountain Destination_will take shape at a height of 2,400 m in the Jabal Al Akhdar mountain range.

Oman has recently unveiled plans for a stunning $2.4-billion mixed-use project that stakes claim to being the sultanate’s highest altitude development at a height of 2,400 m in the Jabal Al Akhdar mountain range.

The Omani Mountain Destination (OMD), as it is known, will be designed to be net zero carbon in operation, being totally powered by renewable energy, and built with a 40 reduction in embodied carbon.

Masterplanned by AtkinsRéalis and designed in consultation with local communities, it will include 2,527 residences and 2,000 hotel rooms and a purpose-built health and wellness village, The Vessel.

The development will be 85 per cent pedestrianised with the provision of extensive cycleways and include a Dark Sky Zone. With a significant focus on social and environmental sustainability, alongside its residential, retail and hospitality offerings, the OMD will include a biodiversity centre for local and international research and development (R&D), dedicated health and wellness areas, a high-altitude sports training centre, amphitheatres, museum and parks and public spaces.

As part of its commitment to preserving the area’s existing ecology, the development includes an escarpment walk in a remote wilderness area that has been legally protected as a National Scenic Reserve.  This will ensure low light pollution to maintain the destination’s Dark Sky Zone.

OMD aims to preserve and enhance biodiversity, protecting the existing 500-year-old native Juniper woodlands, Arabian Tahr and other animal populations, and ensuring more than 90 per cent of new plantings are native species. It will also include the new Wadi Al Harbi Park, comprising a new bridge, farming and agrotourism, family recreation activities, and mountain biking and extreme sports facilities, including bungee jumping and rock climbing.

The destination will be serviced by a new cable car.Upgrading of other transport infrastructure in the area is already under way, including a new road from the north which will allow access for the two most populated governorates in the country, South and North Al Batinah.

On completion, OMD is expected to attract a resident population of more than 8,000 and an average of 2,350 overnight visitors and 2,000 daily visitors. Due to its high altitude, the area has a comfortable climate with an average temperature of 22 deg C.