A visitor photographs the Central Business District by Aabar Properties on the third day of Abu Dhabi Cityscape. Developers said that the downturn made them focus on creating a sustainable community for the future development of Abu Dhabi, especially in the property sector. Image Credit: Ravindranath/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: With $500 billion (Dh1.8 trillion) worth of projects underway in the UAE's capital city, property developers claim the economic downturn has helped keep them focused and in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan.

Developers also said that the downturn had made them more focused on creating a sustainable community for the future development of Abu Dhabi, especially in the property sector.

Developers are now focusing on creating residential, commercial and mixed-use communities that provide a lasting impact for the residents of Abu Dhabi, keeping in mind the Urban Planning Council's mandate for sustainability.

When Bloom Properties chief executive officer Dr Hani Shammah was asked whether projects had slowed down, been delayed, or even cancelled, due to the economic downturn, he said: "There were delays from time to time. However in 2009 we focused on privatising projects that were more in tune with current market positions and that includes main island projects. The economic crisis has helped us focus more on what the market needs, and accordingly we adopted our project."

Bloom's total cost of projects under development exceed Dh4 billion, some of which include 26 low rising buildings to be delivered by September in the Noor Residential area in Al Ain, with rents expected to be affordable for middle income residents.

Construction of 123 villas for GCC nationals and Emiratis with 99-year leases are also underway at the Bloom Gardens in the Eastern Corniche, with phase one expected to be delivered by 2011.

Alongside will be Bloom's first school project expected to accommodate 1,200 students at the new Brighton College School.

In addition, the Bloom Central will include a five-star hotel, with construction expected to start by next month.

Alongside will be 64 serviced apartments, 49 residential units, and 7,000 square metres of office space.

As part of the UPC's upcoming Bateen Waterfront framework project, Bloom also invested in an upscale project in the water-front retail area, with six low-rise residential buildings and a 200-room Boutique hotel.

Mixed project

Tamouh is another investor contributing to building a sustainable plan for Abu Dhabi, with their Dh5 billion mixed project in the Marina Square, located on Reem Island.

The project is expected to home 200,000 people in the next 15 years.

Marina Square consists of 13 residential buildings making up 70 per cent of the area and 30 per cent commercial components, across 66 acres of space and built-up space of more than 827,000 square metres.

Residential towers in the Marina Square are scheduled to be handed over to investors by May and June, and expected to be delivered to about 8,500 mid-end to high-end residential users by Aug-ust.

Residential units consist of studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom apartments, as well as six-bedroom villas.

The area will also introduce the Paragon Bay Boutique mall, with 134 shops, due to be handed over by 2011, covering 35,000 square feet.

A mosque, open spaces, ample parking, swimming pools, day-care centres, and medical clinics will help create a sustainable, self-sufficient community area in Marina square.

Fine-tuned

Speaking about the effects of the economic downturn, Samia Bouazza, director of sales and marking at Tamouh, told Gulf News: "We've launched three projects already, and they are all fine-tuned. We're fortunate not to set any specific dates [for delivery] but none of our projects have been delayed."

Another Dh1 billion project in progress is the Al Raha Beach development by Aldar properties, the major waterfront development.

Aldar properties, property development, management and investment unit also announced interchanges 4, 4A and 5, on the main Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway (E10), soon to open to traffic from and to Al Raha Beach and Al Raha Gardens.