x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Superyacht marina in Mina Zayed

Mubadala Development issues tenders for what would be one of the region's largest marina projects at Mina Zayed, on the tip of Abu Dhabi island.

The new marina could house up to 500 superyachts like these moored at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre earlier this year.
The new marina could house up to 500 superyachts like these moored at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre earlier this year.

Mubadala Development, the strategic investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, has issued tenders for what would be one of the region's largest marina projects at Mina Zayed, on the tip of Abu Dhabi island. The marina, tentatively called Marina Zayed, would house 500 berths for superyachts up to 180 metres. "The top 50 yachts in the world are of that size," said Rainer Behne, the managing partner of a yacht building company called Rodriguez Group, adding that the length of an average yacht is about 30 metres. "In my opinion, Abu Dhabi will be a major yachting destination. This is proof they want it to be a major spot for this in the world."

Mubadala executives said the tender represented the early stage of deciding the viability of the project. "A marina project is in the early screening and feasibility stages; as part of this process, tenders have been issued to provide initial concepts and data to assess the viability of a marina," a Mubadala spokeswoman said. "When studies are complete, a decision will be taken on whether to progress this as a project."

The tender also suggests a major property development would come alongside the marina, including two five-star hotels, one four-star hotel, a public promenade, 1,100 residential units and a high-end retail project. Mina Zayed, which is currently Abu Dhabi's main port, is set for a major redevelopment. The shipping activities are being shifted to Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone on the Abu Dhabi coast closer to Dubai.

Aldar Properties and Mubadala plan to raze many of the structures to make way for mixed-use developments including the MGM Grand Abu Dhabi, a proposed leisure complex. The area will become more desirable for developers later this year, when the Tourism Development and Investment Company opens the Saadiyat Bridge and motorway. This will allow motorists entering the capital from Dubai or Abu Dhabi International Airport to travel to the downtown area on a new motorway across the mangrove swamps without passing any traffic lights.

The Marina Zayed proposal would come as the Yas Island marina, with views of the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit, is flooded ahead of the November 1 race. Other marinas in Abu Dhabi are planned for Saadiyat Island, Nareel Island, Al Gurm and Raha Beach. Dubai is also home to several large marinas, including the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and the Dubai International Marine Club in Mina Seyahi. Large marinas and promenades are a major attraction for tourists, said Mabrouk Mohammed Ali, the general manager of the Wagih Mansour Marine Club next to the Beach Rotana Hotel.

"Big yachts are a big draw," he said. "It will also help with boat shows in the future. The area for the existing boat show is not that big. This could be like the one in Monaco." @Email:bhope@thenational.ae