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Cultural capital of the UAE. Islamic Cultural Capital of the Arab Region for 2014. Capital of Arab Tourism for 2015. This is Sharjah plus a lot more.
The emirate may lag behind its neighbour Dubai in terms of sky-high buildings, or both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in terms of new real estate developments sprouting in various corners, but everyone knows that it is taking its own sweet time to become at par with these two. In fact, it is on its way there. Its one foot is slowly joining the fray as evidenced by some new mixed-use property projects currently being developed while the other remains rooted to its own heritage, coming up with several initiatives that aim to preserve its history and tradition.
One of these initiatives is the Heart of Sharjah. It is an over-a-decade plan that focuses on giving Sharjah’s heritage district a facelift. It is designed to increase visitor numbers to the emirate in order to boost its tourism sector in particular and its economy in general.
The project covers an area of 35,000 square feet and will be dotted with a mix of residences, cultural venues and commercial spots. Aside from giving the old historical buildings in the area a vibrant and updated look while still retaining their former glory, the project will also come up with new buildings that will transform the place into a haven for entertainment, cultural and social activities.
Set to rise in the district are offices, restaurants, cafes, hotels, retail outlets and markets sporting contemporary and traditional styles. In addition, there will also be museums, art galleries and children’s play areas. To be incorporated into its layout are transportation links such as bus and taxi stops, water taxi ports and underground parking space.
All these are aimed at positioning the heritage area to become the ultimate one-stop tourist destination for all visitors and Sharjah as one of the global must-see places in the future.
• Heart of Sharjah project is projected to be completed in 2025
• It will be a mix of residential, commercial and cultural structures
• The layout includes water taxi ports, bus/taxi stops and parking
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer