x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Baniyas project moves to second phase

A moderately priced Abu Dhabi residential development targeting locals is bucking the construction slowdown.

A Dh3 billion (US$816.8 million) project off Abu Dhabi Island is moving forward with its next phase of construction, bucking the local trend.

Bawabat al Sharq is a master-planned development covering 108 hectares in Baniyas, on the road from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain.

Plans call for 1,300 residential units, a 70,000 square metre mall and a football stadium large enough for 20,000 spectators.

Baniyas Investment and Development, the development arm of the Baniyas Sports Club, this week awarded a Dh190m contract to Royal International to start building the second phase of the project, which includes 129 villas and 14 apartment blocks.

The developer is mainly targeting middle-income earners, with prices in the first phase ranging between Dh977,000 and Dh6.8m. Apartments in the second phase start at Dh650,000.

Units in the project can be bought on a freehold basis only by UAE citizens, although non-nationals have the option of a 99-year lease.

The project "certainly has its own niche", said William Dewsnap, the head of valuations in Abu Dhabi for the property agent Cluttons.

Developers in recent years have mainly targeted the top end of the market, with the mid-price range "overlooked", Mr Dewsnap said.

The project also stands out for continuing construction during the slowdown in the market, he said.

Construction of the first phase of 164 apartments and 56 villas was finished last October. Half of the units have been handed over, but the developer is still waiting for completion of infrastructure to hand over the rest.

These should be handed over to owners in the next few weeks, said Wael Tawil, the chief executive of Baniyas Investment.

The units available for sale in the first phase were sold out, Mr Tawil said, adding that all of the buyers were end users.

The shopping mall is due to open in April, if the infrastructure is completed, he said. Construction has not yet started on the stadium, which is under the control of the Abu Dhabi Municipality and Abu Dhabi Sports Club.

kbrass@thenational.ae