x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Arabtec to lease entire office tower within WTC

Arabtec, the biggest builder in the UAE, has leased an entire tower in Abu Dhabi as it boosts its presence there.

The offices that Arabtec will occupy are part of the World Trade Center Abu Dhabi project. Lee Hoagland / The National
The offices that Arabtec will occupy are part of the World Trade Center Abu Dhabi project. Lee Hoagland / The National

Arabtec Holding has leased an entire office building in Abu Dhabi as it seeks to boost its presence in the capital.

The UAE's biggest builder has signed a long-term agreement with Aldar Properties to move into a 59-storey office tower in the developer's downtown World Trade Center Abu Dhabi project.

It is not clear how many floors the builder will occupy or if it plans to sub-let space.

"The World Trade Center, one of the latest high quality mixed-use developments, is ideally placed to be a base for Arabtec and our subsidiaries in the emirate of Abu Dhabi," said Hasan Abdulla Ismaik, the managing director and chief executive of Arabtec Holding.

"We have reached an agreement to enter into a long-term lease for the commercial tower. The new space is planned to provide room for expansion as we deliver on our new growth strategy."

The company's headquarters will remain in Dubai, where it is seeking to develop its presence in construction, property and infrastructure.

However, the new offices will support its planned expansion in the oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors in the capital.

"We could not be more pleased to have Arabtec occupy this premium office destination," said Ali Eid AlMheiri, the chairman of Aldar.

"Arabtec, a true local success story in the UAE with projects regionally and globally, is a perfect reflection of what the World Trade Center Offices stand for."

Mohamed Al Mubarak, the deputy chief executive of Aldar Properties added that the deal was a "true example of UAE corporate growth and success".

The offices are part of the wider WTC project, which occupies the site of the old outdoor market that was destroyed by a fire in 2002.

The project also includes a souq, which has been open since 2011 and was formerly known as Central Market, and The Mall, a shopping centre due for completion in the third quarter.

In addition, there is an apartment block which is the tallest building in Abu Dhabi. Aldar hopes to start marketing the apartments, which range from one to five bedrooms, by October.

Patrick Bell, the director of development at World Trade Center said there was a lag to fill the office block initially.

"Now it will be occupied very quickly, [this] is a great catalyst in this current tough market, to kick-start the overall development," he said.

But having a major tenant like Arabtec will also help to support the rest of the WTC project, he added.

"Hopefully it will support the residential [part] going forward because no doubt with a full office building, we will have people who will want to live and work within the same development," said Mr Bell.

He said it was not clear which of Arabtec's business units and subsidiaries the company intended to move into the building.

It will take about "two or three months" to fit the building out, according to Mr Bell.

"They probably have to understand which businesses are going where and the whole move process. They will be going through that as we speak. I would like to think, or hope, that people will be in by the third quarter when we open the retail scheme."