x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The changing landscape of downtown Abu Dhabi

Ageing residential and hotel properties in downtown Abu Dhabi are likely to come up for redevelopment over the next five years, a property consultancy says.

Ageing buildings in downtown Abu Dhabi, including residential and hotel properties, are likely to come up for redevelopment over the next five years, a property consultancy says.

The buildings appear increasingly "out of context" with the modern development taking place across the emirate, according to CB Richard Ellis.

"Generally in that central business district area of Abu Dhabi, in the downtown area, if you look at the existing building there, a lot of them are not far off dilapidation and I think probably over the next five years, you're going to see a lot of that redeveloped," says Matthew Green, the UAE head of research and consultancy for CB Richard Ellis, Middle East.

"I think that's just a consequence of the way Abu Dhabi is going. There's obviously a lot of new developments coming through in the centre, but there's also a lot of old buildings which are out of context in what's coming through in the wider market. The residential particularly.

"There are a lot of ageing residential buildings which are likely to come up for refurbishment or redevelopment in some cases."

Developments under construction on the main island include Central Market being built by Aldar Properties, which includes the tallest building in Abu Dhabi, The Domain, a luxury residential tower. This is part of a wider mixed-use development that includes, shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

"In terms of the offices, a lot of the office space tends to be a bit newer because the commercial market has taken a bit longer to develop," Mr Green says.

Many older hotels, meanwhile, are increasingly struggling to keep up with the modern new lodgings coming into the market.

Mr Green says there are likely to be "more and more" closures of old, inferior hotels in Abu Dhabi. Smaller, unbranded properties are likely to suffer as the big global operators flock to the capital and open modern hotels, many of which are being housed in futuristic buildings.

Analysts at CB Richard Ellis say that rents at apartments in the central business district (CBD) of Abu Dhabi are likely to remain high, despite the ageing stock, "with many residents preferring the convenience of the CBD location over newer and arguably higher specification inventory elsewhere".

rbhundun@thenational.ae