Sharjah ruler inaugurates new $1.6bn Khorfakkan highway

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, has inaugurated the new Khorfakkan highway, which extends 89km and has an estimated cost of AED6 billion.

The new highway is the latest addition to the roads network of Sharjah and the UAE, linking the arterial Emirates Road (E611) in Sharjah with Wadi Shi Square in Khorfakkan.

Accompanied by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the two leaders inspected the intersections, tunnels and underground crossings of the new highway that passes through deserts, plains and mountains.

The highway includes 14 intersections, and 7 underground crossings along with five pairs of tunnels dug through high mountains. These include Al Sidra Tunnel, which at 2,700 metres, is the longest covered mountain tunnel in the Middle East.

They also inspected Al Rafisah Dam, one of the most important family tourism destinations in Khorfakkan. Spanning a total area of 10,684 square metres, it includes a mosque, outdoor seating area for 300 people, car parking for 45 vehicle, a walkway, and three playing areas spanning 410 sqm.

The Ruler of Sharjah also laid the foundation stone for the branch of Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Khorfakkan.

The Academy will grant students a bachelor’s degree in applied, theoretical and maritime sciences.

He also inaugurated the Khorfakkan Lakes and Fountains Project at the entrance of Khorfakkan which features four lagoons and a number of fountains,, and unveiled the Resistance Monument, which is a testament to the steadfastness of the Khorfakkan people in the face of the Portuguese invasion in the early 15th century.

The Sharjah Ruler also announced that many more projects will continue to be developed in Khorfakkan to increase the beauty of the city, and provide it with all educational, sports and leisure facilities.

ZonesCorp says to launch Abu Dhabi, Al Ain industrial projects

ZonesCorp, which oversees 50 sq km of developed areas in Abu Dhabi City and Al Ain, is set to announce two new investment projects.

Covering a total area of two million sq m, the new projects will support an extensive range of industrial and commercial activities, it said in a statement.

The first project will be located in Abu Dhabi’s ICAD Zone 3 and will include the ICAD Business Park occupying 1.1 million sq m, ICAD Gate spanning 470,000 sq m, and a 234,000 sq m prefabricated factory project.

The second project – Al Ain Investment Complex in Al Ain Economic Zone – will extend over a total area of 155,000 sq m, it added.

ZonesCorp said each of the projects will include an incubator and specialised units equipped to host industrial activities that cater to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Once completed, the projects will also embrace commercial and residential complexes, shopping and entertainment centres, medical centres and spacious car parks, in addition to organic food centres.

Saeed Eisa Mohammed Al Khyeli, director general of ZonesCorp, said: “ZonesCorp’s strategic planning and objectives aim to attract further local and international investments in line with Ghadan 21, the AED50 billion three-year development program launched in 2018.”

He added: “Our new projects offer immense potential in terms of market access and growth opportunities for businesses and innovators looking to establish or expand their presence in Abu Dhabi’s rapidly growing non-oil sectors, including ventures led by Emiratis as well as SMEs.

“We will provide facilities, logistical support and a full range of world-class services based on our understanding of investor requirements throughout the establishment, construction and operational phases of these projects.” 

In addition to its new investment clusters, ZonesCorp has also launched the second phase of Rahayel City, an integrated auto hub located at the nexus point of three of Abu Dhabi’s main urban centres – Khalifa City, Shakhbout City and Mohammed Bin Zayed City.

Spanning 12.3 sq km, Rahayel City will serve as a focal point for automotive manufacturers, distributors, new and used cars showrooms and auction marts, service providers and dealers and is scheduled for completion in Q1 2020.

UAE sees pick up in new real estate projects despite subdued market

New real estate project launches have picked up again in 2019 despite concerns about oversupply in the UAE, according to new research.

Asteco’s Q1 2019 – UAE Real Estate Report said that despite prevailing soft market conditions, new project launches, particularly from top-tier developers, have picked up again, after slowing towards the end of 2018.

“This trend is somewhat suprising given prevailing oversupply concerns,” said John Stevens, managing director of Asteco.

New supply also increased with the delivery of approximately 6,700 residential units in Dubai – 5,800 apartments and 900 villas – and 3,600 properties in Abu Dhabi – 2,800 apartments & 800 villas.

These figures have nearly doubled compared to last quarter, which is due to previously delayed projects handing over but can also be attributed to the increased delivery of properties with extensive post-completion payment plans, he added.

Asteco said commercial handovers were limited in Dubai but are expected to pick up with the imminent release of more than 750,000 sq ft of office space in Silicon Park. Office completions in Abu Dhabi included Al Jewn Tower in Danet Abu Dhabi.

As a result of this new inventory, and in line with continuous economic uncertainties, rental rates and sales prices recorded further declines across all emirates, Asteco noted.

It said Dubai rental rates contracted by 3 percent for apartments, 3 percent for villas and 2 percent for offices over the last quarter, and by 11 percent, 9 percent and 15 percent respectively since Q1 2018.

Sales prices declined by 2-4 percent during Q1 and 14-15 percent annually.

“It is important to note that “interest in off-plan projects as well as secondary properties was somewhat buoyant, aided by competitive, more affordable pricing and attractive payment plans,” the Asteco report added.

Apartment and villa rents in Abu Dhabi decreased by 2 percent and 1 percent on average in Q1 and 9 percent and 5 percent over the year.

Overall, apartment rental rates in the Northern Emirates contracted by 3 percent in the first quarter and 11 percent year-on-year, with high-end properties in Sharjah and Ajman proving to be the most resilient with marginal quarterly decreases of 1 percent and 2 percent.

Annually, Al Ain apartment and villa rental rates decreased by 2 percent and 8 percent, while retail rents dropped 5 percent. Office rates remained unchanged mainly due to the lack of activity in the market, the report said.