Aldar Properties, the largest developer in the capital, yesterday signed a deal with three contracting companies to build 5,000 villas for Emiratis in Abu Dhabi, officials said. The contractors are Al Jaber Building, El Seif Engineering and Pembinaan. Construction on the Al Falah project will be finished by the third quarter of 2012. The Dh9.4 billion (US$2.55bn) project will consist of five "villages", each with its own town centre, schools and mosques, Aldar said.
The site, to the east of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, will cover about 1,200 hectares and the project has been designed to "encourage community gathering with a number of open parks that connect the residential, commercial and leisure elements", the company said. "This is an important step in the development of the Al Falah project," said Ahmed al Sayegh, the chairman of Aldar. "Increasing housing availability for UAE families is one of many ways through which Aldar is living up to its mission of building sustainable communities to cater to the growth needs of the emirate of Abu Dhabi."
More than 50,000 homes will be built for Emiratis over the next 20 years, according to the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). About 30,000 of the houses will be built in Abu Dhabi and 20,000 in Al Ain at an estimated cost of Dh25bn in the first three years. In addition to the 5,000 units in Al Falah, there are plans for 10,500 plots in South Shamkha, about 13,000 in Al Wathba and between 2,000 and 3,000 in central Shamkha.
Both cities suffer from a shortage of housing. Under the plan, Emiratis could be granted the housing free, but a final decision has not been made yet, according to the UPC. "There are already 15,000 applications right now for Emirati buildings," said Falah al Ahbabi, the general manager of the UPC, in an interview in March. "Emirati housing is the most important item for us right now. It is a hot topic."