From left: Yasmeen Al Rashdi, Senior Manager, Estidama Dept, Antony Mallows, Executive Director, Masdar city, and Yousuf Baselaib, senior advisor to CEO of Masdar City, during a press conference at Cityscape Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Thousands of villas and apartments will be built as part of expansion plans of Masdar City, the Abu Dhabi based company known for sustainable projects, announced on Tuesday at Cityscape event in the capital.

As part of phase 2 plans, 2,000 apartments, a GEMS school, restaurants, cafes, a Research and Development cluster would be built, Masdar said.

In phase 5, 1,000 units including a number of villas and townhouses, would be constructed. The company did not disclose the total investment involved in the project, which would be built by a third party developer with Masdar being the master developer.

Around 35 per cent of the planned built up area will be completed over the next five years, up from 5 per cent today, Masdar City announced.

GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals and Emiratis can own the units which will come up near the Masdar City on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, while foreigners can lease the property on a long-term basis for a period of 99 years.

Masdar City is targeting a 4 Pearl Estidama Community Rating, and also claims to be the first development in the UAE to do so.

The Estidama Pearl Community Rating system promotes the development of complete sustainable communities and advocates improvements in the quality of life of all residents.

“Masdar City aspires to be a model for the way our cities are built in the future, setting new standards for reducing energy and water demand, waste and carbon emissions. We look forward to becoming the first development in the UAE to achieve the 4 Pearl Estidama Community rating,” said Anthony Mallows, Executive Director of Masdar City.

Mallows has said that the development is taking place at a good location close to the international airport and sees good demand.

“Though the economy has slowed down but we still see good demand. There is no volatility unlike in other markets in Abu Dhabi. We see many people showing interest in the project,” Mallows said.

Masdar City is enabling innovation in sustainability and clean technologies by integrating education, research and development, investment and business opportunity. Masdar is owned by Mubadala Development company, the strategic investment company of Abu Dhabi government.