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The chances of Majid Al Futtaim Properties taking on new large-area developments in Sharjah are a real possibility, according to a top official.
Currently, the company is involved in a joint venture with a Sharjah Government entity — Sharjah Holding — for a 1 million square-metre mixed-use community called ‘Al Zahia’.
“There’s nothing on the drawing board — but there have been indications from government representatives to do further things in Sharjah,” said Ted Young, project head for communities at Majid Al Futtaim Properties. “But those decisions will have to come from the board and the Sharjah Government.Al Zahia itself is a keystone of the ‘New Sharjah’ that the government is creating.”
Decisions on a second project need not be imminent. The completion of Al Zahia itself will take all the way up to 2022, with some of the initial phases due for completion in 2018. As of now, the project is at the 30 per cent mark. When complete, 12,000 families will have taken up residence there.
Phase 1 has been handed over and 50-odd families have moved in. The next phase to be launched will feature three-, four and five-bedroom town houses and villas.
It was with Al Zahia that the concept of masterplanned communities took hold in the emirate. Since then there have been launches such as Tilal City and another from MAG Properties to build on the city’s extensive residential needs for upscale homes. These developers have also had plot sales at these communities, and which met with a favourable response.
Current pricing for the residential units at Al Zahia is around Dh850 a square foot, “in keeping with the pricing in that locality”. “This is going to be a premium product for the emirate,” said Young.
To raise the project’s longer term credentials, the developer is also having a retail destination through one of its ‘City Centre’ malls, and bigger than the flagship Deira City Centre. This is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2019, and takes up a huge area abutting the residential community. The drilling works have started on site.
On whether the developer would consider retaining some of the residential stock it is creating, Young said: “Some of the villas that will be given up for commercial activity could be retained by us. There are about 50 of these villas.”
Majid Al Futtaim Properties also has projects going on in Muscat and Lebanon. At the latter, it is building a business park.
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com