Ajman is steering ahead with new property developments despite the rapid pace of construction placing massive pressure on power and water supplies. Several projects in the Northern Emirates have had to rely on temporary power generators as they wait to be connected to utilities networks. But with the emirate's proximity to both Dubai and Sharjah airports, along with cheaper land for development, Ajman is still proving to be a magnet for investment in large-scale projects.
Aqaar Properties, which is based in Ajman and developing Ajman One, has drawn up plans for another project in the emirate - this time a Dh3.2 billion (US$871 million) waterfront development. The project, which is still at the design stage, will include 190,000 square metres of reclaimed land. An official launch of the yet to be named development is planned for later this year. Rami Dabbas, the chief executive of Aqaar Properties, confirmed that the development would be mostly residential and include a mix of beachside apartments and villas, as well as a five-star hotel.
"We've been working on the project since January," he said. "It will be about one kilometre away from Coral Beach in Ajman, and directly on the waterfront. We are targeting the top-end market; all residents will have access to their own beach." With about 20 projects under way in the emirate - including Emirates City, Ajman Uptown and Ajman Marina - the Government of Ajman is devising ways of ensuring that there is enough power and water to meet all future development needs.
The emirate has a population of 207,000, but this figure is expected to swell by another 100,000 between now and 2011, as new projects come on stream. "There has been a lot reported on the power issue, but this issue is a priority of the Government," said Mr Dabbas, who is also the director of Al Zorah, the company behind the Dh220bn Al Zorah Development that will stretch across 16km of coastline in Ajman. "People are sometimes impatient and expect things to happen overnight, but when you talk about power, it requires planning and negotiations.
"Plus, the needs of Ajman are not going to be developed in one year. If you look at Al Zorah, for example, we're talking about a timescale from now up until 2023, and the same applies to other projects. Some projects might need power now, but in the end I think the Government will meet all of the requirements." Among the schemes in the pipeline that will help to meet water and power requirements are the Ajman Wastewater Project, which will be completed by the end of this year.
The Government also recently signed a Dh7.34bn deal with the Malaysian power producer, MMC, for the construction of the Gulf's first coal-fired power plant, which in its first phase will have a capacity to supply 1,000 megawatts of power. "The project's aim is to provide enough electricity to property projects planned for the emirate in the near future," said Mr Dabbas. "The Federal National Council also recently gave approval for private companies to provide power generators and produce desalinated water under the supervision of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) and, of course, inherently in line with international environmental standards."
Mr Dabbas added that Aqaar Properties also planned to launch the second phase of Ajman One, its flagship Dh2.7bn mixed-use project, in a few months time. Construction on the first phase, which includes 12 residential towers, started last year. The second phase will include three office towers and a convention centre, along with a four-star hotel and serviced apartments. "This will be the first business hub in Ajman," he said.