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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

UAE developer to build biggest-ever real estate project in Sharjah 

The Dh24bn mixed-use development in the emirate will house 70,000 people upon completion

The Aljada development will include retail, leisure and entertainment components, in addition to residential and commercial offerings, such as a dedicated business park  Aljada Business Park. Courtesy Aljada
The Aljada development will include retail, leisure and entertainment components, in addition to residential and commercial offerings, such as a dedicated business park Aljada Business Park. Courtesy Aljada

Arada, a Sharjah-based real estate developer, promises to build the largest-ever mixed-use project in the emirate that will house around 70,000 people upon completion.

The Dh24 billion (US$6.5bn) Aljada development unveiled yesterday by Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah is over 2.2 square kilometers. The project will be funded through a combination of debt and equity, with Arada’s founding partners – Basma Group and KBW Investments, a firm controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal – putting up Dh5bn in funds for the development, Arada chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi told The National on the sidelines of the launch event.

Most of the remaining funding requirements will be met through bank debt and proceeds from sales, he said adding that the firm is already in talks with several local, regional and international lenders.

“We want people to feel confident that we are putting our money … we also are collaborating with several banks,” Sheikh Sultan said. “We have a lot of banks who are willing to come on board, hoping to be a part of this transaction.”

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The development, which is designed by architecture firm Woods Bagot will go to tendering stage at the end of this year and construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. It will be delivered in several phases starting the fourth quarter of 2019, when the developer plans to release 272 apartments along with 28 town houses and 56 semi-detached villas. The entire project, which also includes a dedicated business park, is expected to be completed by 2025, he said.

The property market in the UAE, which has recovered well after the 2008 financial crisis, has faced headwinds over the past two years because of an oversupply of units and slower economic growth as a result of a slump in oil prices that has dented investor confidence. Prices of residential and commercial properties have declined, however developers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have launched new projects, hoping that reduced property rates and flexible payment plans will once again attract investors and end-users.

Aljada is the second Arada project after Nasma Residence, which was launched just a few months ago. Aldar, Abu Dhabi’s biggest publically-traded developer, has launched two mid-market developments in less than six months and several big-ticket property projects were kicked off in Dubai in the last two years.

“Sharjah has always been a very stable market for real estate,” Sheikh Sultan said, adding that even during the 2008 financial crisis, the market in the emirate was relatively stable as the laws governing the property sector protect both investors and developers.

Arada’s new project, close to the Sharjah International Airport and its adjoining Sharjah International Airport Free Zone, is adjacent to University City in the emirate, according to a company statement.

“We want to offer residents and investors upscale living experiences that are currently unavailable in the market. Our aim is the create a city that caters to the needs of every one and end-user will pay if he quality is good,” the chairman said. “We are confident that this development will raise interest in Sharjah even further while strengthening its position as a secure and sought-after investment destination.”

The development includes a residential mix including standalone villas, semi-detached villas, townhouses, lofts, and apartments, food and beverage outlets, schools, healthcare clinics and mosques. Its entertainment precinct called the Central Hub will be anchored by a musical fountain, children’s adventure and discovery complex and an extreme sports centre.