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The next few years will see numerous development projects in and around Abu Dhabi, which include luxury residential and resort communities in the emirate’s coastal areas, shopping malls and hypermarkets and low, mid to high-income residential communities within the main island and the new self-contained communities. Developments in neighbouring islands likewise engender the construction of several infrastructure projects, mainly bridges, to facilitate transportation and to encourage businesses and consumers to invest in these properties.

The drive to make Abu Dhabi a prime tourist attraction not only in the UAE but for the entire GCC and beyond is underwritten by the creation of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is tasked to promote the Abu Dhabi brand overseas, while overseeing infrastructure development on the ground. A tourism development and investment company has likewise been formed with a paid up capital of $27.2 million, to aid in the construction of some 4,000 new hotel rooms between 2007 and 2010, and another 13,000 rooms between 2010 and 2015.

Moreover, the much-anticipated completion of the Midfield Terminal Complex at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, valued at a whopping $6.85 billion, by 2010 will eventually increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 20 to 50 million passengers annually, a significant increase from some 5.4 million passengers in 2004.

Corniche and City Centre (2008-2011)

Abu Dhabi’s bustling Corniche Road will continue to be developed in the intermediate future, with luxury hotels and resorts as well as private residences targeted towards the high-income group, and commercial towers, being built within its vicinity.

The Khalidiya Rotana Hotel and Residences is an expected addition to the strip of establishments along Abu Dhabi’s Corniche. The multi-purpose establishment would offer some 117 upscale residential units, 108 office suites, and 436 hotel rooms, which are expected to be available for occupancy in 2009.

One of the most anticipated projects in Abu Dhabi’s downtown area (on Khalifa St/Airport Road), the Abu Dhabi Central Market, which is undergoing reconstruction. The project will give rise to three towers for residential, commercial and hotel functions. Some 300 hotel rooms, and approximately 200 residential units and 250 retail spaces would be available once the construction is completed in 2008.

Another upscale mixed use project on the Corniche Road is the Capital Plaza Development, where an estimated 240 offices and 220 luxury apartments as well as 250 hotel rooms would become available upon completion in 2008. Another 265 rooms will be added to the Corniche skyline when the Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort and Villas is completed also in 2008.

Furthermore, a mixed commercial and hotel structure is due to be completed at the Al Ittihad Square in downtown Abu Dhabi in 2009. The Stellar Tower will offer some 300 hotel rooms as well as a conference facility and exhibition centre.

Quite importantly, three new tunnels on Al Salam Street leading to the New Corniche Road (East) have also been commissioned and due for completion in 2011, which would ease traffic condition in this busy part of the metropolis.

The two major interchanges on Al Salam Street at the intersections of Hazaa Bin Zayed St (a.k.a Difaá St) and the Sea Palace are being designed to replace existing intersection configurations, an initial step to upgrading the Al Salam St – Eastern Corniche Road into a freeway as new major developments are being undertaken in the vicinity of the Sheikh Zayed bridge and adjacent islands.

Further down along the Tourist Club Area, a new luxury development is being built by the Khor Abu Dhabi Property Development in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company. The Quay will feature 400 upscale residential units, two 20-storey office towers, a 620-room five-star hotel and 60 marina berths.

Lulu Island, which is  directly opposite the Corniche, is also set to become home to some 10 hotel and resorts, a conference and exhibition centre as well as a number of residential villas. Completion date is set for 2010.

Al Reem Island (2009-2012)

Number of residents upon completion: 280,000
Number of household units: 40,000 to 50,000 (E)
Number of commercial and retail space: at least 5,000 (E)
Delivery dates: 2009 to 2012 
Type of Project: Mixed Use
Property Ownership: Leasehold

Al Reem Island, located on the northeastern coast of Abu Dhabi, will be home to an estimated 280,000 residents upon completion (in 2012) and will be connected to the main island by two to three bridges. Besides residential, commercial and retail or mall spaces, the 633-heactare development will also feature hotels, spas, schools, clinics and a golf course.

Approximately 40,000 to 50,000 residential units and over 5,000 retail and office spaces, as well as several hundred hotel rooms and suites will be available at Al Reem upon its completion in 2012 (although early phases of the various sub-projects are forecasted to be available sometime in 2009).

The Al Reem development is divided into four sub-projects including Al Shams, Najmat (20 million sq ft), Marina Square (13.2 million sq. feet) and Addax Port. Al Shams, the biggest component of the project, will occupy roughly 25 percent of the island’s land mass, where an expected 22,000 residential units will become available between 2009 and 2011. The Gate, a prestigious landmark comprising of eight towers, is part of the 100-tower development envisioned for Al Shams.

Najmat, on the other hand, is expected to accommodate some 80,000 residents, which translates to a conservative 16,000 residential units (based on Abu Dhabi’s average household size of 4.9) and over 3,000 commercial units. Marina Square will feature a collection of 14 high-rise towers, where 70 percent is allocated for residents and 30 percent to businesses or retail outlets. The much smaller Addax Port is a collection of five towers (four residential and one commercial).

Tamouh Investments owns 60 percent, Sorouh owns 20 percent, and Al Reem Investments owns the remaining 20 percent of the Al Reem development. A $100 million bridge project to connect Al Reem with the main island is also underway. The Al Shams and Najmat projects alone cost almost $15 billion.

Between Abu Dhabi City Center and Abu Dhabi International Airport (2007-2011)

Scheduled for completion in 2008, the Gate Development features a major resort hotel that offers 265 rooms and 225 serviced apartments, as well as retail and office spaces (about 215 and 205 units, respectively). The Gate is located on Al Khaleej Street next to the Zayed Sports City.

Another hotel (The Gulf Hotel Waterfront Resort) is due to open in 2008 from about 20 kilometers away from the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The hotel is to offer 250 rooms and 105 chalets.

A residential community, which is to offer 2,500 villas and 1,500 apartments on a freehold basis, is also expected to be completed near the Abu Dhabi Airport by 2009. The Al Reef Villas and apartments cost between $136,000 and $354,000, which obviously target middle to high income residents as well as families who prefer to live away from the city. Al Reef Villas will feature schools, play areas, clinics and an undisclosed number of retail or commercial units.

Expansion projects for the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) as well as for the Abu Dhabi International Airport, which are due for completion in 2007 and 2011, respectively, are expected to warrant a more aggressive growth in terms of leisure and business travelers visiting Abu Dhabi in the next few years.

Abu Dhabi Airport

Another key mixed use development in Abu Dhabi mainland (along Airport Road) is the Danet Abu Dhabi, which comprises five districts with 34 commercial and residential towers rising 15 to 23 storeys each. This development will produce approximately 2,000 residential units for middle to high-income residents and about 1,200 commercial units, and is due for completion in 2009.

Al Raha Beach/Abu Dhabi-Dubai Highway (2007-2008)

The $14.7 billion Al Raha Beach Development, which is built on a reclaimed area along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway facing the coast, is due for completion between 2007 and 2008. Its forecast residents of 120,000 upon completion would require building up to 24,500 residential units, which target both the upper middle income and high income groups.

The Al Raha beach development, like any self contained city, will feature commercial, retail and leisure districts as well as luxury hotels, although the actual space or land areas allocated to these activities have not yet been fully disclosed. Meanwhile an adjacent development, Al Raha Gardens, is due to be completed in 2007 with some 1,388 villas that are targeted for high income residents.

Khalifa A & B, Khalifa City (2008-)

An enormous development stretching from Abu Dhabi’s inland area of Bani Yas and Shawamikh all the way to some 30 kilometers off the main city and close to the Abu Dhabi International airport is currently being developed as the new “”residential suburb” in Abu Dhabi. Khalifa A is on the main highway to Dubai adjacent to the Al Raha beach project while Khalifa B, is located farther inland. The new Khalifa City is situated between these two projects.

Residential apartments designed for middle to high income residents are already under construction in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City, while some 600 to 700 residential units have already been built in Khalifa A. A $136 million “new ministries complex project” which will presumably house certain government agencies,  is also being constructed in Khalifa City, with completion date set for 2008.

Khalifa City is envisioned as Abu Dhabi’s response to Dubai’s prestigious Sheikh Zayed Road, and will house not only residential and commercial establishments but an undisclosed number of international hotel chains as well.

Mussafah (2007-2012)

Another new development whose completion date stretches until 2012 is underway in Abu Dhabi’s Mussafah district. The Mohammed Bin Zayed City, which is believed to accommodate an estimated 50,000 residents upon completion, is now undergoing construction, with budget for the project pegged at a whopping $4 billion. Some 267 mid-rise residential and commercial towers targeted at low-income earners are being built in the area. With an average household numbering 4.9, the number of residential units once this development is complete could reach up to 10,000.

Another major development in this area is Al Showayba City, where an estimated 11,000 residential units are to be constructed.  A 220-room hotel named “”Between the Bridges” is also to be built and completed in 2007, between the Al Maqtaa and Al Mussafah bridges (near Umm Al Nar).

Saadiyat Islands

With a development window stretching between 2009 and 2018, the development of Saádiyat Island, some 500 meters off the Abu Dhabi mainland, will be one of the most expensive projects to be undertaken in Abu Dhabi, with budget close to $27 billion. Obviously designed with the high-income group and holiday makers in mind, the Saádiyat Island – upon completion – would be able to accommodate 150,000 residents through some 38,000 apartment units and 8,000 luxury villas. This makes Saádiyat the second biggest “new community project” in Abu Dhabi next to Al Reem, in terms of prospective resident population.

A cultural district to feature some of the world’s most recognized contemporary and art museums such as Guggenheim and Louvre will be built on Saadiyat Island. Some 29 five-star hotels will also be built on the island, which together will add about 7,000 rooms to Abu Dhabi’s existing hotel industry. A $163 million bridge project to link the Sa’adiyat Island with the Abu Dhabi mainland (from the mina area) has also been commissioned and is expected to be completed in 2009.


The Abu Dhabi government is building “part three or segment three” of its Sheikh Zayed bridge to the tune of some $80 million, to be completed in 2008.  A multi-function mall in the Mushrif area is also underway, to be built by Al Qudra Real Estate. Mushref Mall will be one of the highlights of Mushref Gardens, a unique commercial and residential comprising several low to mid-rise towers. Completion date for the Mushref Gardens, including the mall, has not been specified by the developer.

An eight-tower bachelor’s accommodation is also being constructed some 240 km west of Abu Dhabi, between the Al Ruwais industrial complex and Jebel Dhanna. A new headquarters for the Environment Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) is likewise being built adjacent to Abu Dhabi National Bank in Al Muroor St. Al Gurm Resort, a premiere 161-room luxury hotel with 59 exclusive villas is being built on the western coast of Abu Dhabi, and will likewise be completed in 2008, although soft opening of the much awaited hotel along with its restaurants and its upscale boutiques is scheduled earlier.

Project Name


Completion Date


Al Gurm Resort

Coast Road within Abu Dhabi island



Al Reem Island – to accommodate up to 280,000 residents

Located near the northern shores of Abu Dhabi


Al Shams (to occupy 25% of Al Reem)


Najmat - 20M sq ft (80,000 residents)


Marina Square - 13.2M sq ft (70% residential and 30 % commercial)


Addax Port (4 residential towers and one buisness tower)


Emirates Pearl Hotel and Resort

Khalidiya coast, opposite Emirates Palace Hotel


Khalidiya Mall (approx 925,000 sq ft)



The Gate Development

Al Khaleej St next to Zayed Sports City


Gulf Hotel Waterfront Resort

20 km from the airport and close to the city centre


Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) expansion

Situated just a short distance from the airport and city centre


Abu Dhabi International Airport Expansion (ADIAE) - midfield passenger terminal

Situated 32km (20 miles) east of Abu Dhabi


Al Reef Villas (will include schools, play areas and malls) - freehold, costs range from $136K to $354K

Near Abu Dhabi Airport


Khalifa A City Development - residential apartments

Located on main highway to Dubai and lies about 30 kilometers from Abu Dhabi


New Ministries Complex Project

Khalifa City



Grand Mosque development - phase 2

Located at the junction of Airport Rd & Zayed


Danet Abu Dhabi - five districts with 34 commercial and residential towers (15 to 23 floors) + Holiday Inn Hotel

Airport Road



Al Raha Beach Development - to accommodate 120,000 residents

Abu Dhabi-Dubai Highway opposite Al Raha  Gardens


Al Raha Gardens (villas) – freehold

Adjacent to Al Raha Beach Development


Al Raha Shopping Mall (350,000 sq ft)

Abu Dhabi-Dubai Highway



Lulu Island Development

Directly opposite the Corniche


Khalidiya Rotana Hotel and Residences



Abu Dhabi Central Market

Intersection of Khalifa St and Airport Road, between Hamdan & Khalifa Sts.


Capital Plaza Development

Located on the Corniche Rd


Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort and Villas

Breakwater island development


Landmark Tower

Seafront location


Stellar Tower Building

Al Ittihad Square, Abu Dhabi


Three New Tunnels - Al Salam Street

The New Corniche Road East, near Port


Al Wahdah Mall


The Quay

Tourism Club Area



Saadiyat Island Development (SID) - to accommodate over 150,000 residents)

500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi island


New bridge (linking Saadiyat Island with Abu Dhabi island)

500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi island



Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed City Project (to accommodate 50,000 residents, featuring 267 mid-rise residential and commercial towers )



Al Showayba City


Between the Bridges Hotel

Between Al Maqtaa and Al Mussafah bridges (Umm Al Narr)



Bachelors' Accommodation Al Ruwais  (eight towers)

Al Ruwais Industrial Complex and Jehel Dhanma

Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) HQ

Adjacent Abu Dhabi National Bank in Al Muroor Street


Mushref Mall

Mushref Gardens/Mushref

Sheikh Zayed Bridge Project - part 3

Between Abu Dhabi island and mainland


Source: Madar Research, Gulf Construction and other news websites


 Ain al Emarat, a residential community built around a golf course and which could accommodate 120,000 residents upon completion is being built by Al Qudra Real Estate. A 10 square kilometer industrial complex, due for completion in 2008, is also being built in the city.

In terms of infrastructure, an upgrade of the busy Dubai-Al Ain road is underway. Two lanes will be added to the two-lane carriageway extending from the Al Hilli Roundabout to Al Faqaa at the border with Dubai. Six of the eight underpasses along the 53-kilometre carriageway will be widened, while two will be replaced. The two overhead bridges near Al Faqaa will likewise be reconstructed.