Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, said yesterday one of its most prominent projects, the Dh5 billion (US$1.36bn) Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, had been put on hold until a "later date" after the Government decided to push construction back.
The stadium was planned to be bigger than Abu Dhabi's current largest stadium, Zayed Sports City, with a capacity of more than 50,000. It would have been located in the Capital District, a new area of the city being developed as the centre of government agencies, foreign embassies and new residential and office buildings.
"The development of the stadium project has been deferred to a later date," Mubadala said yesterday. "We can confirm that the project has not been cancelled. The reasons for putting the project on hold are proprietary decisions of the Government. Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality, as the development manager for this project, honours the confidential nature of these decisions and cannot disclose anything further." The publication MEED first reported on Wednesday that Mubadala had cancelled a tender that was supposed to have been concluded this week. The five bidders received letters telling them the project had been put on hold by the Government of Abu Dhabi.
The decision to push back the project comes as projects across the country are reviewed in light of the economic environment. The stadium would have cost as much as the entire renovation of Salam Street, a crucial piece of infrastructure for the city. Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality has emerged as one of the biggest forces in the property sector. It is overseeing the creation of the new Central Business District on Sowwah Island and is building in a joint venture the Arzanah luxury property development near Zayed Sports City.
It also has invested in the Viceroy and The Tides hotel brands, which it is trying to spread from the US into new locations such as the Middle East and the Seychelles. Mubadala Real Estate has joint ventures with CapitaLand of Singapore and John Buck based in the US.
The new executive director of the company Peter Wilding has yet to speak publicly about his plans, although MEED reported he is conducting a review of projects.