The first phase of Gateway City, which will house 500,000 people in Ras al Khaimah, will go on sale in Dubai this Saturday. The emirate is planning to build the new city on Emirates Road near the entrance to the city of Ras al Khaimah. Gateway City will eventually stretch over 50 million square feet and house about twice the total current population of the emirate. The new residential and commercial development will be built close to a large Dh1 billion (US$272.2 million) convention and exhibition centre that Rakeen, the property arm of the Ras al Khaimah government, revealed plans for in early May. On the centre's promotional brochures investors could glimpse the outlines of the future skyscrapers that would one day tower over Gateway City.
With Saturday's launch, the "city in a city" is slowly becoming reality. The first phase, which will cover 13.5 million sq ft and house about 150,000 people, will include "a huge souk area with the Grand Central Mosque, surrounded by two large commercial centres and several residential areas", said Maqbul Mohmed, the director of Yes Property Investment, a Dubai-based investor and developer that is in charge of the first phase of building.
"There will be 10 iconic buildings and the focal point of the whole project will be the huge RAK conference centre on the other side of the road", he said. Mr Maqbul added that the project could be built over five or six stages, with the first stage lasting about three years. Yes intended to sell 400 plots of the initial phase to developers and speculators for about Dh4bn, he said. "We have already had a big number of commitments but the official confirmations will be on Saturday."
The ground-clearing work for the project began two months ago. It is one of 30 that are underway or in the planning stage in Ras al Khaimah. The industrial zone has been increasingly drawing investment and construction activity as the possibility of purchasing freehold property has made the emirate an attractive alternative to Dubai. Sale prices in Ras Al Khaimah, however, are rising quickly. RAK properties, the emirate's other major developer, sold units in the Mina al Arab development at Dh1,200 per sq ft in May, compared to Dh600 per sq ft for the same property last year.