New waterfront city takes shape in Sharjah

A model of the Sharjah waterfront city development at Cityscape Global 2015 at the DWTC.Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News

Sharjah’s coastline potential — all 36 kilometres of it — will be tapped to the fullest with the formal launch of a multi-phase mega-development — the ‘Sharjah Waterfront City’.

As many as 200 high-rises could be built as per the initial projections from the developer, privately-owned Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Development Co. The first phase itself, expected to be complete by the third quarter of 2018, could have more than 250 upscale villas, 20 high-rises and four hotels.

The location is close to the emirate’s border with Umm Al Quwain and along Ittihad Road.

“The project is conceived as a series of zones making up each phase, and when construction reaches a certain milestone at one zone — say 60 per cent — work will start on the next and so on,” said Hayssam Al Masri, president of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Development Co. “The initial construction actually started two years ago — the concept was in our minds for some time now. Our intention is clear — create the largest and most vibrant mixed-use development in Sharjah.” The first phase is split into five zones. Not all of the project will be man-made; the location features 10 natural canals integrated into the masterplan. And with those canals come islands that will be connected by bridges.

The masterplanning for all 10 islands is complete, with most of the required approvals obtained. There will be an internal tram network, while attractions for visitors are to include a water theme park (‘Crystal Lagoon’) spread across around 1.5 million square feet and a shopping mall.

“These are early days yet for the project — estimates as to how many people will be resident or work at this location could be anywhere from 100,000 to 120,000,” said Al Masri.

“But, for now, our focus is on the development roll-out and not on sales — that’s for the future.”

The official declined to specify whether residential units can be acquired by multiple nationalities on long-term leasehold, as some of Sharjah’s recent projects have been doing. On Monday, the developer of the upscale Al Rayyan Tower project confirmed that it will be offering units on 100-year leasehold. Tilal City is another recent project in Sharjah targeting a broader investor demographic.

On the likely cost of development, Al Masri said: “Some strategic investors have already been brought in — there are other strategic alliances or investor tie-ins that we are working on and where we see clear synergies coming from it.”

The first and second phases could have a cost tag of around Dh9.5 billion, though Al Masri declined to be drawn into the numbers.

On whether the funding plan envisaged a move to go public, Al Masri said: “There’s a strategic plan we have drawn up to execute this project. As to whether that will include an IPO [initial public offering] is too early to talk about. As regards funding, this is where alliances with key investor groups will play a part.”

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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