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Maryah Plaza, a four-tower development on Al Maryah Island, has established a series of firsts in Abu Dhabi: the first residential property for sale on the island, its first ultrahigh-end apartment development, and, at Dh3,500 per square foot, housing the most expensive units ever to go on the real estate market in the capital. It is a joint venture between Taiwanese construction company Far-glory and Mubadala, the investment arm of the Goverment of Abu Dhabi.
“The pricing of the project was a very bold decision,” says Jack Hu, Managing Director of Farglory Middle East. “But we felt there was room to grow in the ultra-luxury real estate segment in Abu Dhabi.”
He adds that the city’s wealth levels are a natural fit for what Farglory is aiming to achieve with the Maryah Plaza development, citing a recent report by Wealth-X, a ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) intelligence firm, which states that the UAE has the fastest-growing number of millionaires in the world.
While the price tags for the units at Maryah Plaza might seem more suited to Dubai’s opulence, Abu Dhabi seemed a more natural fit, says Hu. “We liked what we saw here for a number of reasons. It’s the capital of the UAE, the seat of politics for the country, and its economic stability is appealing. We believe the opportunities offered here are more competitive for a developer.”
The 114-hectare Al Mar-yah Island project is a part of Abu Dhabi government’s Economic Vision 2030, which already includes a wide array of financial institutions, banks and multinationals. The island has been reimagined as the capital’s central business district, and its only free zone.
“They aren’t only thinking about driving the economy. They want to be the leader in the region. The benchmark has been set very high, and we are a part of the city’s future,” says Hu.
Farglory’s ambitious plans for Maryah Plaza aim for it to be a holistic and exclusive lifestyle destination for its residents. When complete it will comprise a hotel, spa, high-end offices, serviced condominiums and premium apartments.
“It’s a mixed-use development,” says Hu. “What we are trying to do is create an all-inclusive, cosmopolitan lifestyle for our residents, like you’ll find in Singapore or Tokyo.”
It’s a vision that’s shared by Mubadala, the master developers of the island. “We have been offered other opportunities in the region, but we understand Maryah Island, and Mubadala’s vision, strengths and capabilities. As an organisation, when you commit yourself to such a development, you want to ensure that your partner is as capable and reliable as you are. With Maryah Island, Mubadala’s vision will never be compromised.”
To design such an ambitious project, Farglory has enlisted Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Richard Rogers and his firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Rogers is known for his work on high-profile projects such as One Hyde Park in London. Maryah Plaza will mark his first Middle Eastern project.
Located on the waterfront with sweeping views of the Gulf, Maryah Plaza consists of four steel towers — another first, being Abu Dhabi’s only steel residences. It’s designed keeping in mind the emirate’s nautical heritage with the sloping towers reminiscent of ships’ sails, while open balconies and terraces will evoke images of the deck of a luxury cruise vessel. The largest tower will have offices, serviced apartments and a five-star hotel, which, Hu says, will elevate the quality of service for residents.
On the ground level, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a wide array of shops, restaurants, cafés, and an outdoor art gallery, surrounded by ample green areas and promenades. Only residents will be able to enjoy each tower’s zero-edge infinity pool, and there are plans for an exclusive residents’ clubhouse complete with high-end gyms and state-of-the-art spa facilities.
Maryah Plaza is also located well enough for its residents to enjoy other amenities on the island. Sowwah Square, the planned heart of the island with world-class restaurants and five-star hotels, will be nearby. These include the new Rosewood Abu Dhabi, The Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Mar-yah Island, a branch of Cleveland Clinic and The Galleria on Al Maryah Island.
The UHNW connection
The first phase of the project will be ready for hando-ver in June 2017. “We’re way ahead of schedule and construction is already well under way,” says Hu. In terms of the buyer demographic, Hu references a recent report by Rolls-Royce, which states that the brand’s Abu Dhabi showroom is its most successful in the world to demonstrate the nature of the city’s investors,
“The Maryah Plaza project is aimed at UHNW individuals,” he says. “At present, our investors are a mix of diverse nationalities, including those from the GCC, Asia and the West.”
Maryah Plaza marks the beginning of Farglory’s plans for the Middle East and beyond, says Hu. “In the not-so-distant future we will accept opportunities in Dubai, and we also liked what we saw in Europe. Our next projects are likely to be in Dubai, London and Hong Kong.”
Source: Claire Glasby, Special to Property Weekly