x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Transport study to speed up completion of new Abu Dhabi cultural and retail scheme

The Abu Dhabi Municipality has unveiled transport connectivity proposals for its mixed use retail, leisure and traditional souq destination between the Sheikh Zayed and Maqtaa bridges.

The move by Abu Dhabi Municipality to commission a transportation impact study (TIS) for a 150,000 square metre cultural and retail development between the Sheikh Zayed and Maqtaa bridges is expected to speed up the project’s completion.

The study for the scheme, which is in the tendering stage and to be developed in partnership with the private sector through a build-operate-transfer model, “mitigates investor risk and financial exposure at the early stage of this major project”, said Rashid bin Ali Al Omaira, an adviser at Abu Dhabi Municipality in a statement yesterday.

“It also ensures appropriate measures are provided to support the needs of the city and its communities,” Mr Al Omaira said.

The study was undertaken by Parsons, one of the world’s largest companies specialising in engineering, construction and management services.

“This is a large scale traditional souq ... and we are very honoured to have been selected by the Municipality to deliver the transportation impact study,” said Guy Mehula, the president of Parsons Mena+.

The master plan aims to capitalise on Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage and will also link to Khalifa Park and Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

The municipality’s move has drawn positive feedback from potential investors.

“By undertaking the transport impact study, which would normally fall under the developer’s scope of work, the municipality has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the private sector,” said an investor according to the Municipality statement.

“It provides us with vital information to help us shape the project and its connectivity to the transport network, to align the project with the needs of the city and offer us the best possibility to make this a commercial success.”

At the heart of the mixed use scheme will be a traditional Emirati souq as well as retail, food and beverage, entertainment and leisure outlets. It will also have an open-air performance space.

ascott@thenational.ae