ABU DHABI // The company behind the multibillion-dirham Saadiyat Island master development is planning to open a public beach on the island before next summer.
The developer is hoping to open a 400-metre public beach near the golf course and also has plans for a luxury, ladies-only beach club.
"We've just got plans approved and our intent is to start construction very quickly on a public-access beach between the Hyatt and the golf course," said Shaun O'Connor, chief financial officer of TDIC.
The new additions to the project emerged as Mr O'Connor outlined a new timeline for the roll-out of museums on the island, following a broad strategic review.
While everything on the island will be moving ahead, TDIC officials stressed in a statement on Saturday, the timelines for building the various museums will be stretched out. The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum will be built first, with its opening likely to be delayed at least a year from 2013. The Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will follow in successive openings.The TDIC's original strategy was to open all three museums simultaneously.
There are plans to eventually have three public-access beaches on Saadiyat Island, which will be developed as the rest of the island progresses.
“We’ll start out very conservatively. We’ll have a car park – it will be paid parking, very similar to the Corniche,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Then we’ll start building some of the superstructures around it so that we have food and beverage, a place to rent snorkelling gear … when you have 9km of white-sand beach, you need to maximise the use of it.”
The car park will accommodate 220 vehicles.
“We will be building another facility further up the beach which will be a women’s only beach club,” said Mr O’Connor. “I think that will be revolutionary for the market because it’s such an underserved area for Abu Dhabi.”
Design work is already under way for the club and building is expected to start within the next six months and take about a year, he said.
Mr O’Connor said this would be on a similar scale to the luxury Monte Carlo Beach Club, which opened last month on Saadiyat and charges annual membership rates starting at Dh35,000.
Saadiyat’s first hotels, the Park Hyatt and St Regis resorts, are expected to open early next month.
The St Regis hotel, which is owned by the TDIC, will help to generate cash flow for the company, which is carrying Dh12 billion of debt.
“They have a number of commercial properties about to come on line,” said Martin Kohlhase, vice president and senior analyst for Moody’s Investors Service.
The TDIC is also opening its Westin hotel at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club next month. Such projects “should contribute to the bottom line and cash flow”, Mr Kohlhase said.