In the lap of luxury -Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island’s new developments are among the capital’s priciest residences, but TDIC is finding buyers aplentyImage Credit: Courtesy of TDIC

Saadiyat Island’s natural beauty, its proximity to Abu Dhabi city centre and connectivity via major highways have made it a winner among residents and investors. The Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) is developing the island with a focus on sustainability, aiming to transform it into an
educational and cultural hub.

At the already well-established Saadiyat Beach District, residents enjoy a serene lifestyle, with azure waters lapping the white sand and gazelles sometimes seen roaming freely.

Saadiyat Golf Club, the Beach Club and various resorts in the vicinity offer opportunities to socialise.

“Many find Saadiyat Island to be more prestigious than other areas of Abu Dhabi, while others choose it for the privacy and proximity to the main highway to Dubai,” explains Cheffie Melhem, Residential and Commercial Consultant of Better Homes Abu Dhabi.

“Investors who have the foresight of what Saadiyat Island will become, once it is fully developed, find it an attractive investment option.”

The island boasts three communities, including The Residences at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. The 32 Mediterranean-styled villas, which are serviced by St Regis and have direct beach access, can be bought or leased.

At the Saadiyat Beach Villas (SBV) community, only a handful of villas are available. According to TDIC, the vibrant villa community continues to be a popular draw among residents. So much so that the developer sold out SBV’s third phase of 77 luxurious residences and is readying them for handover by year end.

The 495 apartments of the Saadiyat Beach Residences, an attractive gated  compound of six low-rise buildings, have been either sold or are occupied under TDIC’s leasing portfolio. The developer, which also manages the community, reports high demand. Although a convenience store is on-site, residents can easily get to the St Regis Saadiyat Island complex to shop at The Collection.

The Saadiyat Beach Golf Views plots are also sold out. Buyers here can build their dream homes on the island.

Serenity and prestige, of course, don’t come cheap. Melhem, who has clients looking to buy at St Regis or Saadiyat Beach Villas, says the island’s prices are above those of other current Abu Dhabi developments.

“Leasing rates for apartments in Saadiyat Beach Residences are currently comparable to the Raha Beach area, specifically Al Bandar and Al Zeina communities,” he says. “It is an extremely diverse mix of expatriates who seek to lease, with the Emirati clientele mostly preferring the Saadiyat Beach Villas.”

CBRE’s Q2 2015 Abu Dhabi Marketview reveals that luxury apartments within master-planned communities have been performing stronger than the general rental market, growing at 14 per cent over the past year compared to the market average of 10 per cent. According to the report, the reason is the strong demand amid relatively limited supply.

Buying off-plan

New supply for the island is less than two years away, as the master developer and the first sub-developer on the island, Bloom Holding, are bringing their new designs to life this year.

With an emphasis on tranquillity, the current lifestyle that you see on the beach district is a taste of what is to come.

TDIC’s new Jawaher Saadiyat gated villa community will comprise 83 airy four-bedroom town houses and four- to six-bedroom villas, with glass façades  overlooking the gardens. The luxurious residences will have their own community facilities and are set high enough to afford sweeping views over the glistening waters of the Gulf and golf club.

“Jawaher Saadiyat will offer modern, contemporary, open-floor plan living in a gated community with full facilities and easy access to all that Saadiyat will have to offer in the future,” says Melhem. “Together with Mamsha Al Saadiyat, these are the two upcoming and most exciting developments on Saadiyat Island.”

Mamsha Al Saadiyat, TDIC’s first residential project, has a sophisticated modern look with glass, timber and metals. It is located in the island’s cultural district, promising to inject a new buzz into an area where the Louvre will open by 2017.

There is also Manarat Al Saadiyat, an arts and culture centre. “Mamsha Al Saadiyat will offer unparalleled beachfront, resort-style living in a vibrant setting, combining cosmopolitan city style with a relaxed beach atmosphere,” says Mehlhem.

On the boardwalk

The coastal downtown project borders what is to become The District, a prime retail destination that will include a high street and a canal zone. The canal zone comprises a boardwalk, which will offer direct views of the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, expected to be completed in 2018, and the Crescent Arcade, an entertainment hub.

Melhem says many of his clients are not keen to buy into these “quite expensive” off-plan developments, but TDIC reports that the first phase of Mamsha Al Saadiyat has been sold out. Phase one of Jawaher has only been released recently.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat, which translates as saadiyat walk, stretches 1.4km along the Cultural District’s beachfront. The five plots, each around 250m long, will be developed in two phases, according to TDIC. The first phase includes nine low-rise buildings, three on each of the three plots named Azure, Lilac and Turquoise.

Buyers can choose from among 461 units, including 414 one- to four-bedroom apartments, or opt for the five-bedroom duplex penthouses. The nine penthouses come with extras such as private swimming pool and terrace, two living rooms and rooms for a maid and driver.

For those who prefer a villa lifestyle, TDIC has designed 47 two- to three bedroom town houses on the ground floors of the buildings, some even featuring a rooftop garden, from where you could walk straight on to the podium, which houses the community facilities, shops and restaurants. According to TDIC, pre-construction work of this phase is under way, with excavation and piling works in progress.

Blooming Marina District

Bloom Holding is not only the first sub-developer on the island but also the first to announce a residential and hospitality project in Saadiyat Marina, the island’s commercial district. The commercial district will be home to a 1,000-berth marina, filled with cafés and restaurants offering a vibrant nightlife, hotels and a university neighbourhood with student housing, including the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

This is also where Park View will rise, just across NYUAD. Park View’s two wings house 234 residences (studios and one- to three bedroom apartments) and 188 hotel apartments (studio and one- to two-bedders).

The interest and response to the project, to be handed over in the third quarter of 2017, has been tremendous, according to the developer.

“It has exceeded our expectations,” says Sameh Muhtadi, CEO of Bloom Holding. “The residential component of Park View has been sold out within days after the launch.”

The developer has included shops, cafés and restaurants in its design to offer a self-contained lively community, which also features gyms, elevated private  gardens and an infinity pool.

The design is elegant and green, with what looks like a green wall meshed into parts of the building’s façade, in keeping with Abu Dhabi’s stringent environmental building regulations.

“The sustainability guidelines of Estidama apply to the Park View project,” explains Muhtadi. “Legal requirements from the municipalities are close to our heart and we take them very seriously. We comply and follow regulations that promote sustainable living. To help ensure we are compliant on all fronts, we have appointed
consultants for the task.”

It’s got the lot

The developer says Saadiyat is quickly developing into a prime destination with a unique offering in terms of culture, education and tourism. “This is simply not offered anywhere else,” says Muhtadi. “Saadiyat offers the highest standards of living and an unparalleled quality of life. We will be launching a second project in Saadiyat very soon and a third is in the pipeline.”

In the meantime, with its first project sold out, Bloom will be selling the second phase of its hotel apartment component to be managed by Rotana Hotels at Cityscape Global. The developer is guaranteeing investors a 7 per cent return for the first three years.

“Rotana’s expectations on returns is higher than 7 per cent given the proximity of the project to NYUAD and the need for more quality hotel/apartments in the region,” says Muhtadi. “Typically, the first three years of operation is the ramp-up phase. However, we decided to eliminate these operational risks for our buyers.”

Source: Nicole Walter, Special to PW

For Rent


View more properties

For Sale


View more properties