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April 2016

Cityscape magazine spoke to Mubadala Real Estate & Infrastructure (MREI) in anticipation of Cityscape Abu Dhabi about the major developments on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the construction progress on Al Maryah Island achieved over the past 12 months?

The southern half of Al Maryah Island has progressed rapidly during the last 12 months. New developments have significantly enhanced the appeal of the vibrant business and lifestyle destination to investors, businesses, residents and tourists.

One of the first projects that Mubadala undertook on Al Maryah Island was to develop a core business district, featuring four international Grade A commercial towers. This premium office space forms the foundational infrastructure for the world’s newest international financial center, Abu Dhabi Global Market, which became fully operational, granting its first licenses in 2015.

Al Maryah Island has already attracted some of the world’s most prestigious companies, not just by offering high quality offices, but by creating a business and lifestyle destination featuring some of the capital’s most popular events, finest hotels and dining, luxury shopping and high quality healthcare.

Adding to the existing amenities available at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island and Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi will be open by May 2016, offering the familiar brand of world-class hospitality and high-end residences for sale.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is now fully operational, bringing a world-class multispecialty hospital and a unique model of care to the UAE. The central location in Abu Dhabi and connectivity with Al Maryah Island amenities has served thousands of visiting patients and their families.

Another highly anticipated development, Al Maryah Central, received key construction approval to continue development as planned. The 2.3 million square-foot super-regional shopping center is scheduled to be completed by 2018, and will be home to Abu Dhabi’s first Bloomingdale’s and the first international Macy’s.

The physical infrastructure of Al Maryah Island lends to a sense of interconnectedness. Two new bridges opened in the past year, bringing a total of six operational bridges to connect Al Maryah Island to Abu Dhabi’s broader residential, cultural and entertainment districts. All the existing areas of the island are linked via climate controlled passageways, and the two-tiered road network ensures a pedestrian-friendly environment.

An extensive waterfront promenade features joggers, bikers and strolling families and construction has started to further extend the promenade. In the past year, Al Maryah Island hosted its second New Year’s Eve celebrations along the promenade, attracting thousands of people to enjoy live entertainment and to take in Abu Dhabi’s largest fireworks display.

 Q: What kind of opportunities does Al Maryah Island present to international investors as a designated international investment and financial free zone?

Mubadala’s real estate and infrastructure unit has a successful track record of partnering with renowned international organizations to deliver the finest hotels and dining, luxury shopping and high quality healthcare to Al Maryah Island, and we continue to see out investors and developers to further enhance Al Maryah Island as Abu Dhabi’s business and lifestyle destination.

Al Maryah Island’s designation as an investment and financial free zone means that it offers ownership of land in a sought-after area of the capital. GCC and UAE nationals can gain freehold rights to the land on Al Maryah Island, while non-UAE and GCC ownership is a right of leasehold of 99 years, renewable for an additional 99 years. This right is recognized by lending institutions as suitable mortgage security.

Currently, a range of premium plots near Abu Dhabi Global Market Square are also available for development. The 24 prime plots near the completed commercial center range from 1,200 square meters to 73,000 square meters. The first plot sale within the southern area of the island was completed in December 2015, and will be earmarked for future residential use.

Al Maryah Island also offers a highly efficient, business-friendly environment, operating in line with international best practices that are recognized by major financial centers around the world. Governed by Abu Dhabi Global Market, businesses set up on Al Maryah Island enjoy a zero-tax environment for 50 years, and a familiar regulatory and judicial framework based on English Common Law. More than 50 global blue-chip companies already occupy the four international Grade-A commercial towers in Abu Dhabi Global Market Square.

Mubadala is continuing to develop Abu Dhabi’s business and lifestyle destination as a sought-after address that appeals to businesses, investors and visitors from around the globe. Third party developer and corporate occupiers continue to show great interest in being part of such an important part of Abu Dhabi’s economic vision.

Q: What is your long term vision for the development of Al Maryah Island?

To date, the developments that Mubadala has delivered on Al Maryah Island have created a vibrant, sought-after address, appealing to businesses and visitors from around the globe. This is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s development priorities, changing the face and shape of the city to generate opportunities for economic growth. Mubadala Real Estate and Infrastructure will continue to create a focal point for commercial activity, investment, tourism and world class organizations to Al Maryah Island.

This holistic approach, which is fundamental to all of Mubadala’s projects, will continue to drive future development of Al Maryah Island, further delivering our mandate to advance strategic priorities for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

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