Land Debacle in Abdali

August 13, 2007

Written by Khalaf
In 2003, a large area in central Amman, previously designated as land for the headquarters of the army and other security services, was earmarked for an ambitious urban renovation project lead by the Hariri group. Thus, the Abdali project was born.

The 350 dunum parcel of land belongs to a government owned company called Mawared. While the government, through Mawared, is a partner in the project, this initiative is a purely capitalist endeavor.

So, when the investors became more ambitious, they attempted to purchase adjacent properties. While some sold at handsome prices, others refused. The Talal Abu Ghazaleh Group refused.

According to the website set up by Abu Ghazaleh, the Amman Municipality first prevented their company to build on the land they own in the area. Later, the mayor tried to mediate a sale between the Abdali project and Abu Ghazaleh, threatening to confiscate the land and buildings if Abu Ghazaleh refused to sell. This is what later transpired, with the municipality publishing a notice of confiscation for the land.

Abdali Souk

According to Jordanian law, the government can only confiscate land if it is for projects of public benefit. To get around this, the municipality published a map showing that the land to be confiscated will be used to open a street and for parks. Fahed Fanek wrote a commentary practically dismissing the municipality’s claim that the confiscation is for public benefit. The municipality in term responded by insisting that the confiscation was necessary for expanding the road system in the area.

Yesterday, Abu Ghazaleh threw a bombshell. They revealed that the municipality had confiscated two pieces of land in the area last May, only to resell them to the Abdali project in July. It is obvious that the municipality is abusing its power for the benefit of the Abdali Project. Abu Ghazaleh is appealing to the supreme court. I think they have already won in the court of public opinion.

More Information:
A futuristic Amman by Black-Iris
A presentation by Amman’s Mayor Omar Maani (opens as a PDF)