One of Abu Dhabi's major modern logistics hubs, the 6 square km Almarkaz development, is finally about to open for business as thousands of square metres of industrial space come on to the market.
Phase one of the logistics park rollout begins as nine warehouses, comprising 90,000 sq metres, located in the desert near Mussafah, are expected to be handed over to the park's 10 initial tenants at the end of the month, the developer, Waha Land, said yesterday.
Waha Land, a subsidiary of the aircraft leasing company Waha Capital, said it had leased more than 10,000 sq metres of space to both local and international tenants and it expected to be 35 per cent leased by December.
The company added that it expected the remainder of the 1.5km first phase to be completed by the end of next year.
"What we're seeing now is an interest because we're almost finished, we're almost at handover. We've already got interest that's way over the allocation we have," said Hazem Al Nowais, the chief operating officer of Waha Land. "Summer's over and we're seeing a good pickup in the number of clients coming to see the site."
"We've done three market researches saying that there is a shortage of quality 21st-century European- or American-style industrial and business parks. There is a requirement for international-standard logistics, warehousing [and] business parks, and that's the demand that we're plugging into. It's part of the overall diversification of Abu Dhabi."
Rents at the business park average about Dh400 (US$108) per sq metre, and Waha hopes its investment will eventually produce a yield of more than 10 per cent. The developer said its parent company had invested a total of Dh600 million into the project.
Once the first phase has been developed, the investment is expected to be worth about Dh2 billion. Four phases are planned for the site.
Mr Al Nowais expects the first phase of the park to be up and running by 2015, although he said that work would not start on the remaining land in the immediate future.
He declined to name any of the tenants that signed up to the scheme but said the largest pre-let had been for 2,000 sq metres, while most had been for smaller amounts.
He added that tenants were likely to use the space for anything from light manufacturing to food and beverage production and warehousing.
"It's a stable income," said Mr Al Nowais. "It's not like you're going to find a bigger two-bedroom apartment down the road and all you've got to move is a couple of beds and sofas and change the curtains."
"This is a long-term investment. You come in and you put your machinery in and the last thing you want to do is move out."