x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The future of Yas Island is malls and a water park

A guide to what's going up on Yas Island and when. First up: a massive Ikea.

Yas Island is still in many ways a work in progress, says the master developer Aldar.

The Ikea building is in its final stages and the mall is still on the drawing board.

Residential developments on the southern half of the island are being plotted out.

The Warner Brothers theme park is still in its infancy and the northern part of the island has yet to be planned.

Here is a rundown of developments lined up to open on the island.

Ikea

In the cross hairs for completion in the first quarter next year is the 32,000 square metre Ikea furniture store. More than three times the size of Abu Dhabi's current Ikea, in Marina Mall, it will be bigger than the 25,400 sq metre store in Festival City in Dubai.

Water park

A water park remains on the drawing board, with a developer due to be announced in the coming months to build the park's 43 rides, slides and attractions. No date has been set for completion of the development.

Southern Marina

The residential areas are bare but plans are taking shape.

"We have started to work on the main residential developments," said Talal al Dhiyebi, the director of planning and infrastructure for Aldar. "We are currently master planning two big areas, one is known as Southern Marina, which is the area near southern Yas and near the main hotels."

Marina

A new marina will add 900 berths to the 143 already available at Yas Marina.

Yas Mall

Beyond the giant structure of Ferrari World will be Yas Mall. It will have four floors with 500 shops, and the world's largest free-standing roof, according to Aldar.

"We are currently in the design stage of the mall and we have yet to award the main construction package on it," Mr al Dhiyebi said.

"We have Aecom as the lead design consultant working on the detailed design of the mall. Once we are finished with that and all our internal reviews on the designs, we will be approaching the market to tender those awards."

Warner Bros theme park

The Warner Brothers theme park, planned to have cinemas, a film studio and attractions, is also still in the pipeline, according to Mr al Dhiyebi.

"We have the land reserved for it and it's on the master plan," he said. "We are trying to define what the right product is that fits in with all the other products, so all the retail offerings complement each other in the same way and give the market what they want. So they will be a very interesting product in the future."

Garden Crescent

The property development, Garden Crescent, is now in the master planning stage. "We're working very closely with the urban planning council on both [residential] sites and currently engaged in the detailed master plan. We will then start to look in to the phasing of those projects and which areas we would start to activate first," Mr al Dhiyebi said.

"A lot more is going to happen on Yas Island but it is going to happen in a carefully planned manner. We are testing demand, and release things at the right time and when they are ready.

"We finished Ferrari World, and the race track and the hotel. The other developments include the Southern Marina, and phase one is what we completed last year by race day.

"Now we're in phase two, and each of the projects are on their own timescale. There is no completion date. It is purely based on facts and assessments," Mr al Dhiyebi said.

The master developer wants to complete the southern part of the island before it considers what happens on the northern half.

"We can look at North Yas and plan that but when it comes to the time of building it, there could be changes in demand, and things that could influence the master development," Mr al Dhiyebi added.

* Eugene Harnan