$100 Billion Projects to Transform Abu Dhabi


Abu-DhabiABU DHABI, Feb 2 — A US$100 billion raft of housing, schools, transport and other projects will transform Abu Dhabi into an integrated, cosmopolitan global city. “All these mega projects will contribute in making a quantum leap in the infrastructure of Abu Dhabi,” Fahad Al Raqbani, director general of Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, said in a new report, according to The National.

“These projects will emphasis the economic competitiveness of the emirate, empower the role of the private sector and sustain the local economy’s growth in a manner that will lead to accomplishing the objectives of the economic vision 2030.”

The report coincides with the resumption of a number of projects stalled in the wake of the financial crisis.

About 22,000 new homes were completed in Abu Dhabi in the last three months of 2013 with another 22,000 expected to be handed over this year, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, the property consultant. It says a key trend of the last year has been the revival of projects put on hold during the downturn.

It estimates another 825,000 square meters of office space will be delivered by 2015 with companies such as Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Finance House and Siemens set to occupy new office blocks. That had proved a major boon for the local construction industry as contractors and developers mobilize.

Arabtec, the rapidly expanding construction company part-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar, has set up a property development arm to capitalize on the upswing. At the start of last year, Abu Dhabi Executive Council announced it would inject Dh330 billion into the economy over the next five years, including spending on new homes, schools, roads and other infrastructure. Work was already underway on several other big infrastructure initiatives. The new report estimates that Dh7.6bn in investment has been earmarked for the Sheikh Zayed project, a state-of-the-art housing development in a triangle between Khalifa City A, Khalifa City B and Mohammed Bin Zayed City. It will be home to as many as 370,000 Emirati families when complete. In the transport sector, Dh11bn will be invested in developing a 131km metro system in Abu Dhabi to accelerate the flow of traffic and keep pace with the growing population.

The other big rail project the report details is Etihad Rail, the Dh40bn scheme that will link Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the northern emirates, and the ports of Khalifa and Jebel Ali. The first phase, which connects the Shah oil and gas field with the port of Ruwais, was completed in September. Etihad Rail will eventually link up with the planned 2,177km-long GCC railway.

There will also be 246 kilometers of new major roads, including a 62km highway connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi, scheduled for completion in 2017. The report flagged up the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport, with the building of the new Midfield Terminal in 2017. It also highlighted the important role of forthcoming projects such as Sheikh Zayed National Museum and Louvre Abu Dhabi in cementing the emirate’s cultural footprint.

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