AD unveils largest island project yet

Saadiyat Island is set to be transformed into a residential and leisure hub, 500m off the coast of the UAE capital

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By  Tim Wood Published  April 29, 2006

A new flagship US $27 billion (AED100 billion) project that will transform Saadiyat Island into the Middle East’s largest single natural island development has been unveiled in Abu Dhabi. To be built in three phases and completed by 2018, Saadiyat is the first of many developments for new public joint stock company, the Tourist Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which has been set up to develop real estate projects in the region. TDIC will be responsible for the infrastructure of the 27km2 island, which is located 500m offshore in the UAE’s capital city. And the cost of developing the infrastructure alone is set to top $1.5 billion. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of both TDIC and ADTA, said: “Saadiyat’s transformation is a key proposition in the Abu Dhabi government’s strategy of increasing tourism to the emirate from one million to three million by 2015.” The project will feature six distinct areas — Cultural District, Al Marina, Saadiyat Beach, South Beach, Saadiyat Park and The Wetlands — all connected by a palm-lined motorway. Described as an ‘island off an island’, Saadiyat will have 29 hotels with 7,000 rooms, including a seven-star property, three marinas, 8,000 villas, 38,000 apartments, 19km of sandy beach, and two golf courses. Saadiyat will be linked to Abu Dhabi city via two causeways, each with 10-lane roads, one of which will have provision for light rail transport. The project will eventually be home to 150,000 residents. TDIC’s strategy will be to dispose of development land on the island to private investors who will each develop their own sites in accordance with the masterplan, planning regulations and design guidelines.

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