x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Spend a day on the beach at Yas

Aldar is planning to open a public beach on the $40 billion Yas Island development.

Aldar Properties is about to award a construction contract to build a public beach on Yas Island. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Aldar Properties is about to award a construction contract to build a public beach on Yas Island. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

Yas Island is to boast a new attraction: a public beach.

The US$40 billion (Dh146.92bn) island development, home to the Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World theme park and its most recent addition, Ikea, is set to expand its offerings as it continues to take shape as a leisure destination.

Aldar Properties says it is about to award a construction contract so work can start on the beach.

"With technical bids currently under review, a contract award for the construction of this is to be announced very soon," Aldar said.

The beach is to be located at the southern end of the island, where there is a high concentration of homes being developed.

Aldar declined to offer further information on plans for the beach, the cost of development and when it is likely to open up to visitors.

Meanwhile, the planned opening date for a Yas Island water park has been pushed back and is now not expected to open until the first quarter of 2013, Aldar said. It had been scheduled to open in the last quarter of next year.

The outdoor water park, to be built next to Ferrari World, is designed to have 40 rides and attractions.

"With construction firm Alec signed on as the main contractor since January, all permits have been received from the Abu Dhabi Municipality," the developer said.

When Aldar announced its plans for the water park, it claimed it would also be "one of the most environmentally friendly water parks in the world". Covering 16.4 hectares, it is to offer scuba diving, cable water skiing and a lazy river.

Aldar last year sold off Dh10.9bn worth of infrastructure assets on Yas Island, including the grand prix circuit to the Abu Dhabi Government, after the company suffered hefty losses because of the revaluation of properties and the opening of Yas Island.

It posted a Dh12.65bn loss last year after writing down the value of its assets. The Yas Links golf course is up and running and seven hotels operate on the island. The race track, marina and Ferrari World, incorporating the world's fastest roller coaster, are all operational.

But much more is planned. A shopping mall and a Warner Brothers theme park are among the attractions that are part of the master plan.

The mall, which has been scaled down from its original plans, has already signed up Geant, the supermarket, and Ace, the home and garden store, to set up shop there.

The mall is to eventually house more than 400 retailers, according to the developer's plans. Aldar said a construction contract was being awarded for the mall this month.

"Aldar is now looking ahead to the next stage of development at Yas Island," said Mohammed al Mubarak, the deputy chief executive and chief commercial officer of Aldar.

"Retail is the central focus for this next phase, and following the delivery of Yas Ikea in March, we are now moving forward with our major retail complex Yas Mall, which is scheduled for delivery in 2013.

Yas Water Park and a new scenic public beach will also add to the overall leisure and entertainment offer on Yas Island."

rbundhun@thenational.ae