Friday, May 16, 2008

Abu Dhabi Is No Longer A Sleeping Giant!

I went to Cityscape 2008 in Abu Dhabi on Thursday and big WOW indeed to see those projects in this richest emirate in the world. I spent good three hours to be mesmerized with the sheer magnitude of Abu Dhabi in the near future.
The amount of money is mind boggling but then again, Abu Dhabi has 100 years of oil stock and is among top world's producers.
I am not fond of Abu Dhabi city due to its boringness and staleness, no colors like Dubai. Even I hate driving to Abu Dhabi and every trip is torturous indeed.
With Abu Dhabi is no longer a sleeping giant, its awakening will be something to see with deep interests. Until now, Dubai has been stealing the limelights but with loads of money to spend, Abu Dhabi is soon taking over the attractions!

Abu Dhabi's real estate projects to cross Dh1.71tr

By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor
Published: May 16, 2008, 00:38

Dubai: Real estate projects announced in Abu Dhabi so far, including those under planning and development, are estimated to cross $466 billion (Dh1.71 trillion) when completed, according to the latest update.

These, developers say, collectively represent a 'tip of the iceberg' - compared to what is expected in the coming years. The figure is significantly higher than the $327 billion project value estimated at the Cityscape last year.

"It is worth remembering that it is only the projects that are officially planned or have broken ground, that have made it onto the list. After last year's event, we estimated that $327 billion worth of projects had been announced, this year's total is sure to be significantly higher," Mark Goodchild, project manager of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, said yesterday.

Since then, developers unveiled a $40 billion Yas Island project, a $40 billion Khalifa City, $24 billion mixed use real estate community project by Burooj Properties, a $10 billion mixed-use Ghantoot Green City, among many others, raising the project value significantly.

However, some of the biggest surprises include a new capital district that will become the administrative headquarters of the government - something like Malaysia's Putrajaya - is yet to be unveiled.

The Abu Dhabi Government will gradually unveil a vast Wetlands National Park that is to be triple the size of the existing Abu Dhabi island, as well as Hudariyat Island - another mega project - together will raise the project value to a much higher level.

Real Estate Property

These exclude the government's investment in hydrocarbon, utilities, ports and airports, communication and infrastructure. "Abu Dhabi has entered a new era of leadership and the city epitomises a fresh spirit of city-building which is almost unmatched anywhere in the world," said the latest report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

"The city offers shining possibilities for long-term growth through substantial wealth-creating opportunities, massive infrastructure investment, a clear vision, strong governance and the availability of capital."

However, risk management, quality and imbalance in projects remain a challenge. "There are significant risks coming for developers. Consumers need to trust the development, the developer and the market," Abu Baker Al Khouri, managing director of Sorouh Real Estate, said.

Top 10 Abu Dhabi projects worth Dh700b

Staff Report
Published: May 16, 2008, 00:38

Dubai: More than Dh700 billion ($190 billion) is being budgeted across just the top 10 civil construction projects currently planned or under way in Abu Dhabi, said a statement.

Analysts believe this is the tip of the iceberg as the UAE capital has yet to unveil the major projects that will help it to realise its 2030 vision, which will more than triple the current population.

Many of these projects are being showcased at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which closes today after extending the show by one day at government request.

Cityscape provided a glimpse of what to expect in the next few years, while officials hinted that the major project rollout will continue in the next few years, in line with Abu Dhabi's Plan 2030.

Mark Goodchild, project manager, Cityscape Abu Dhabi, said: "The sheer scale of these combined projects is remarkable. Little wonder that investors have flocked to Cityscape Abu Dhabi, visitor attendance figures for the first two days of the show exceeded 20,000, which is double the number we recorded last year at the same stage.

"It is worth remembering that it is only the projects that are officially planned or have broken ground that have made it on to the list. After last year's event we estimated that $327 billion worth of projects had been announced. This year's total is sure to be higher."

The list: Mega plans

Some of the details of the top 10 projects were provided by research company Proleads. They are:

- The biggest single project is the new capital city for Abu Dhabi - Khalifa City. Budgeted at $40 billion, the city is to comprise all federal ministries, local government offices and embassies. The development will cover 49 million square metres. The city is expected to be completed by 2030.

- Work has started on the Yas Island Development, a massive $39 billion mixed-use tourist development including residential, hotels, beaches, marinas, retail, golf and equestrian facilities as well as a Ferrari theme park. The island will have a total developed area about one-third the size of Abu Dhabi island.

- Burooj Properties is behind a planned $24 billion mixed-use real estate community project in Abu Dhabi to include 11 residential towers, offices, four hotels and a shopping mall.

- Saadiyat Island is another massive offshore development under way with a budget of more than $22 billion. It includes 19 kilometres of beachfront, 29 hotels, three marinas, 8,000 residential villas and more than 38,000 apartments. The project also includes a museum, concert hall, maritime history centre, three harbours, a park, golf course and sailing club.

- A $22 billion budget has been allocated for the ambitious Masdar City project, billed as the first zero-carbon, zero-waste city. The city will include a university, commercial, residential and eco-friendly industrial areas. It will depend on solar energy. Masdar City will also be car-free. Around the city will be wind and photovoltaic farms.

- Under way is the $13 billion Al Raha Beach Complex, another mixed-use hospitality development involving reclaimed land and will include 50 high-rise and a number of low-rise buildings for approximately 120,000 people. Water-taxis will provide access to Abu Dhabi city centre.

- Abu Dhabi's International Capital Trading is planning a $10 billion mixed use city, tentatively called Ghantoot Green City. The project will comprise commercial centres, hotels, offices, residential areas, warehousing and light industrial areas.

- Al Reem Island development is a $7.8 billion mixed-use community next to the bridge connecting Al Reem Island to Abu Dhabi city. Several 40 and 50 storey towers will form the central business district. The development will include two 80-storey buildings and house approximately 80,000 people.

- With a budget of $6.5 billion, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed City is another new city comprising 374 residential and commercial buildings as well as the associated infrastructure and entertainment facilities. The development is on the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway.

- At joint number 10 with budgets of $3 billion each are the Abu Dhabi Light Rail project and the MGM Grand Hotel. The rail project is in the study phase and will involve some 350 kilometres of rail. The MGM Grand project will have two further branded luxury hotels and more than 1,200 rooms. It will also feature a 12,000 seat arena, retail, restaurants, waterfront residences and private yacht berths.

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