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The launch of the free zone on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island, together with residential property, and the Four Seasons Hotel is expected to boost traffic to the island, and increase demand for retail offerings at The Galleria mall, analysts and officials said.
Currently, operating property on the 114-hectare island includes office towers, Rosewood Hotel, The Galleria mall, and select departments at Cleveland Clinic.
Saed Arar, associate director at Mubadala Real Estate and Infrastructure, the developer behind the island, said the outlook for Al Maryah was bullish, and expected strong demand for both commercial and residential space to grow.
“We’re currently in discussions with an investor that is very much interested in buying residential space, and looking out for bringing facilities there,” he said, adding that the company will disclose more information in the near future once a deal is reached.
Though there are no residential units on Al Maryah yet, Rosewood Hotel and the Four Seasons are set to launch a total of 140 apartments for sales in the second half of this year. Farglory, a Taiwanese developer, is also working on residential units.
Speaking to Gulf News via phone, Arar said the island aims to be Abu Dhabi’s international financial centre, and boost the UAE’s vision to diversify the economy.
Meanwhile, Mathew Green, head of research at CBRE, a commercial real estate adviser, said that office space was a key factor in driving up traffic to the island. However, with lower oil prices, many companies have postponed plans to move to new offices.
“Many of the drivers, which will exist, are still either just emerging or they haven’t reached their full capacity yet. Once you start to get a few more of those big names into that mix, then that will obviously drive footfall,” he said.
Green added that the opening of Al Maryah Central, the new mall on the island, in 2018 is going to be a “game changer” for the island.
“A lot comes down to how quickly the free zone is sorted, and how quickly you get the market drivers like Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange into the buildings there. The retail needs footfall, which will come from office occupiers, people staying at hotels, and Cleveland Clinic,” he said.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which is a financial free zone on Al Maryah Island, is the emirate’s answer to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), according to Cluttons, a property consultant and agent.
Asking rents for office space at ADGM are in the range of Dh3,600-3,700 per square metre — slightly higher than DIFC, and well above Abu Dhabi’s average prime rates of Dh2,200, Cluttons’s international research and business development manager, Faisal Durrani, said. Despite so, demand is set to be strong.
Rosewood, the only hotel on the island, is also expected to see a boost once other developments are launched, according Luigi Romaniello, the hotel’s managing director.
In an earlier interview with Gulf News, Romaniello said occupancy rates in the first few months of the year were just above 70 per cent, adding that he expected new project launches to have a spillover effect across the island.
Source: Sarah Diaa, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com