Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Aldar Properties' estimated Dh55 billion mixed-use development — Al Raha Beach — remains on track despite the slowdown wrought by the global financial crisis on the property sector in the region.
"We will be handing over the keys at the Al Bandar residential development on Al Raha Beach in the coming weeks. The Al Muneera development, which is a residential and commercial project, would be the next to be handed over in 2011. This is to be followed by the delivery of Al Zeina residential development," an official Aldar spokesman told Gulf News by telephone.
As well, he said office leasing at HQ — Aldar's disc shaped headquarters on the Al Raha Beach development comprising 23 floors, is ongoing.
The HQ is one of the most striking new additions to the Abu Dhabi skyline. Set upon an elevated peninsula with spectacular views of the city, canal and sea, the location is in close proximity to leisure and retail outlets located in Al Dana and throughout Al Raha Beach.
Built alongside 5.2 million square metres of natural beachfront, the Al Raha Beach development, is being completed and delivered in phases. Though the entire project is slated to be completed by 2019, the exact time frame of completion will be driven by the demand and supply situation. The Al Raha Beach development will house up to 120,000 residents.
The project is strategically located. It's close to the Abu Dhabi International Airport on the beach side of the main highway leading into Abu Dhabi from Dubai.
The beachfront neighbourhood sits next to Yas Island — which is being developed as an entertainment, leisure and sports venue, including the Yas Marina Circuit that host Formula One races, Ferari World theme park, among others.
"The Al Raha Beach project has always been conceived as a premium quality, mixed-use development, focused on residential. The project has been aimed at establishing a high quality living environment for Abu Dhabi supported by commercial uses and amenities," said David Dudley, Abu Dhabi-based regional director for Jones Lang LaSalle, a global property advisory firm.
He said the initial phases of Al Raha Beach were planned during a time of very strong investor demand. Since the market turned at the end of 2008, and speculative investor demand fell away, it has been increasingly important to focus on the end-user.
"For the residential components of projects such as Al Raha Beach, this means scaling back the size of apartments, and reducing specifications and finishes to develop a residential product which is more affordable for the end-user. It also means an even greater focus on providing supporting amenities — including community retail, food and beverage, schools and child care facilities, health care and other public facilities — to help establish an integrated and lived-in community," said Dudley.
Whilst projects such as Al Raha Beach will, in part, still cater for the luxury segment of the market the Al Raha Beach development will also need to provide for the substantial pent-up demand for mid-market housing, he added.
JP Grobbelaar, Director of Research and Advisory at Colliers International in Dubai said the residential market in Abu Dhabi has traditionally been under-supplied.
"Any new residential space being released on the market should be absorbed quickly because currently the demand is greater than the supply. The Al Raha Beach development is going to appeal to people working closer to the Abu Dhabi International Airport," he said, adding the high-end of the residential market in Abu Dhabi is largely saturated.
"The demand currently is focussed on mid to low end of the market,' Grobbelaar added.
Aldar's development of real estate projects across its portfolio in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is estimated at more than $75 billion in terms of value with the entire portfolio slated to be completed and delivered over a period of seven to ten years. These include residential projects, hotel projects, shopping centres, a Ferrari theme park and Formula 1 race track on the Yas Island as well as a Warner Bros theme park in collaboration with Hollywood film producer Warner Bros Entertainment.
With massive investments in the industrial, tourism, civil aviation and real estate sectors, Abu Dhabi and its surrounding areas are all set to get a complete makeover by 2015. The ambition is to become a top holiday and global residential destination of choice, patronised by affluent holidaymakers and top-notch professionals from around the world.
ABB has signed a contract worth $4.5 million with Aldar to design and install four state-of-the-art substations for the Al Muneera Apartment project.
Located on the precinct of Khor Al Raha, the Al Muneera project is a neighbourhood offering a mix of luxury living in magnificent villas with waterfront and canal views, as well as distinctively designed multi-storey apartment buildings.
Elias Rizk, ABB's local business unit manager for construction in the UAE, said, "Not only are ABB's substations increasing power capacity, they are also boosting energy efficiency and strengthening the power grid at Al Muneera project, thus ensuring reliable power to the thousands of residents, tourists and businesses year-round."
As part of the contract, ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of four 22/0.4kV substations. The substation delivery includes 24 2000 kVA transformers, 48 22 kV air-insulated switchgear panels, telecommunications equipment, DC systems and a host of medium- and low-voltage cables.
— Staff Report
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