x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Taiwanese developer signs up for mixed-use project on Sowwah

Apartments and hotels set to occupy Abu Dhabi's new business district.

A Taiwanese developer is buying into Abu Dhabi's Sowwah Island project to build a large residential and commercial development as part of what is planned to become the capital's new central business district.

Farglory is to develop apartments, hotels, and retail outlets on four plots of land.

Mubabala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, said the Sowwah Island development was being modelled on the world's leading mixed-use business districts, comparing it with Manhattan.

Sources close to Mubadala said Farglory was effectively buying plots of land to develop. The plan was for a mixed-use residential and commercial development covering 17,000 square metres, although the deal had yet to be completed.

Sources in Taiwan and Abu Dhabi said a reported US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) cost for the development was inaccurate.

Full details of the deal are expected to be announced in Taiwan today.

"Featuring a dynamic combination of premium commercial and residential clusters, luxury business hotels, comprehensive retail, medical facilities, public amenities, landscaped parks and pedestrian-friendly open spaces, the island will have a daily working population of 75,000 and will be home to 30,000 residents," Mubadala's website says.

In April, Four Seasons announced plans to open a 200-room hotel in Abu Dhabi to be developed by Mubadala on Sowwah Island. The property will also have 125 apartments and is expected to open in 2013. Other luxury hospitality brands have also been signed up, with a Rosewood hotel planned for the island, along with a Viceroy property.

Viceroy Abu Dhabi is the first under the brand planned for the region after Mubadala's acquisition of a 50 per cent stake in Kor Hotel Management in July 2008.

Mubadala said this year that the first of the main four towers in Sowwah Square was almost leased out, with tenants including leading law and accounting companies, as well as local and international banks and financial services companies.

Sowwah Square is to be home to the new headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, and will be surrounded by "Grade A" high-rise office towers. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi will also be located on the island.

There will be 13 bridges connecting other parts of the emirate with the island, and a mass-transit system including metro and light rail.

rbundhun@thenational.ae