His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, at the Aljada development project launch Image Credit: WAM

Sharjah: A UAE-Saudi joint venture has launched what is said to be the largest privately-owned mixed-use real estate project in Sharjah. The Aljada development will take up 224 hectares on a site with easy access to the main access roads in the emirate.

The project is being helmed by Arada, for which this is second project after the successful launch of the Nasma residential community. Arada is projecting a gross real estate value of Dh24 billion (including the sales proceeds) from Aljada.

“The plot on which Aljada will be developed was purchased from the Sharjah Government earlier this year, and it lies almost entirely on a greenfield site,” said Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed Bin Talal, Vice-Chairman of Arada and Chairman of KBW Investments.

The first phases are to be delivered from 2019 and the entire destination by 2025. It will by then have a resident base of around 70,000.

Arada came into being late last year, and features Prince Khaled and Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, Chairman of Basma Group as principal shareholders.

“As we said at the launch of Arada, we have been in the process of carefully evaluating several opportunities available to us. Our original plan had been to launch Aljada in 2018, but the resounding success we witnessed at Nasma Residences. The first phase sold out in a month’s time, (and) convinced us to bring forward this launch. We believe that this demand persists.”

All residential units will be available on either a freehold or 100-year leasehold basis to all nationalities. There will be 272 units released at the launch.

“We will be releasing other phases rapidly,” said Prince Khaled. “Our plan is to focus mainly on low-rise and mid-rise buildings across a range of sectors, including residential, commercial, hospitality, retail and leisure and entertainment.”

The proof that it will not be a development riding on residential alone is quite clear from the masterplan.

Aljada will feature a business park with 500,000 square metres of office space. The business park’s location is opposite Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and Sharjah International Airport, and with direct access to Al Dhaid Road.

“The Business Park will be ideal for companies that wish to be housed in offices with state-of-the-art design and the latest facilities — but at a lower overall cost of business than in many other parts of the UAE,” Prince Khaled added.

Aljada’s other focal point will be the “Central Hub”, which will be the base for most of the retail, apart from leisure and entertainment options. But there will be no standalone mall.

Elements of the Central Hub will be open before the first phase is complete. The other retail spots in the development will be two tree-lined boulevards of 4.4 kilometres in length and featuring select retail and F&B offerings.

Construction on the first phase is to begin in Q1-18. The plan is to issue the tender for the main contract by early November and to award it in January.

The masterplan was conceived by Woods Bagot, with the firm working closely with the Sharjah Urban Planning Council. Included in the Central Hub will be a piazza and anchored by a musical fountain display as well as the “largest children’s adventure and discovery complex in the Northern Emirates”.

“The Central Hub will also focus on Aljada’s aim of promoting an active lifestyle, with a number of sports on offer,” the Prince said. “That aim is complemented by Aljada’s linear parks, which are unique in the UAE in that they stretch the entire length of the development, allowing every resident access to lush green spaces only a few minutes’ distance from their front door.”

It is always about the location

* In terms of its location and connectivity, Aljada ticks all the boxes. While Business Park overlooks the Saif Zone and the airport, the development is bordered on the north by Al Dhaid Road, on the east by University City and on the south by University City Road. The site also has easy access to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.

* Its internal layout is designed to ease congestion within the project and provide ease of access for visitors and residents entering and exiting Aljada.