My City Centre Masdar features more than 70 stores across 18,500 square metres of gross leasable area. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Masdar on Wednesday said it is open to selling plots to foreign investors in its free zone on the back of a new real estate law that encourages foreigners to buy plots in select zones.

“This law allows us to encourage foreign investors to come and own the land and start to develop it. This is what was approved by Abu Dhabi government two weeks ago and we are planning to sell plots to accelerate building in Masdar City,” said Yousuf Baslaib, executive director of sustainable real estate at Masdar.

Abu Dhabi brought new changes to its real estate law last week to allow all foreigners to own land and property in investment areas on a freehold basis.

Earlier, ownership was only permitted for UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council nationals, and foreign investors were limited to 99-year leases.

Baslaib said 1,500 people are currently residing in Masdar City and the number is expected to go up to 2,500 by the end of 2019 with new apartments being built.

“By end of this year we are going to add more than 950 apartments and 5000 square meter of retail space in Masdar City to boost our real estate portfolio.”

He was speaking to Gulf News at the opening of a new shopping mall by Majid Al Futtaim Group in Masdar City with an investment of Dh300 million.

More than 600 companies currently operate in Masdar City, he added.

Meanwhile, Majid Al Futtaim group opened its first shopping mall in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The new mall, named My City Centre Masdar, is Majid Al Futtaim’s 25th shopping mall in the region, Ahmad Galal Ismail, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim, Properties told Gulf News.

“What distinguishes this mall is the investment we made in sustainability in every aspect like the way the mall is designed to make sure that it is integrated with the local transport network, encourages ride sharing and the use of electrical vehicles and even the canopy of the mall is designed to create a micro climate around it to minimise the use of energy,” he said.

The company is also building another shopping mall in Abu Dhabi named Al Jazira City Centre.

Over the coming two to three years, the group will bring online almost 4 million square feet of GLA (gross leasable area) starting with a mall in Egypt, in Sharjah and in Oman, he added.

My City Centre Masdar features more than 70 stores across 18,500 square metres of gross leasable area including Carrefour, Life Pharmacy, Al Jaber Optical, Zaatar w Zeit, Kababji and Cinnabon, among others.