WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Abu Dhabi 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | FOCUS: EMIRATI NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT

With demand ever evolving, the Emirati Neighborhood is Abu Dhabi's most recent answer to what the future of the accommodation market will look like.

Out of all the factors transforming Abu Dhabi, population growth will be the one to have the biggest impact on the Emirate's future setup. The population increased to 2.6 million in 2015 with the number expected to double and reach nearly 5 million inhabitants by 2020. The growing number of people coming to live in Abu Dhabi is pushing not only demand higher, but also the quality of living standards. Accordingly, those in the housing sector are having to be more sensitive to features such as incorporating sustainable energies, community development areas, and greater connectivity.

To face this demand, in 2013 the Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada) set in motion a plan to develop the Emirati Neighborhood, an AED2.4 billion project that will extend over an area of 14.4 million sqm and is expected to facilitate residential units for approximately 370,000 UAE nationals. The project is one of the most ambitious housing initiatives in the history of Abu Dhabi and is meant to set a new vision of what the future of the accommodation market will look like in the Emirate.

The project looks to innovate in the real estate sector by offering spacious housing at low-density rates, as population within the compound will be controlled to maintain the living standards promised in the initial mockup. This program is a beacon within Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 as it reflects the plan's biggest attempt to provide affordable and sustainable housing for thousands of Emiratis.

The project's master plan is spread across five packages out of which two have already been completed; these entailed the development of roads, infrastructure works, improving the soil over which the project will stand, sewerage irrigation, firefighting systems, and a preservation plan for the environment around Emirati Neighborhood. Phase I consisted of distributing over 2,000 residential plots among UAE nationals.

Once it reaches completion, the project will be made up of 2,755 residential plots, 37 mosques, 47 gardens, and 13 schools serving all education levels. Much as its predecessor Khalifa City did, Emirati Neighborhood builds upon the concept of a city within a city. It will allocate the facilities needed for its inhabitants according to the needs and number of inhabitants in the compound. Most importantly, the project also contains carefully devised plans for the expansion of its boundaries as and when the community's population expands after the Emirati Neighborhood is delivered in 2019.

Emirati Neighborhood is located in a strategic location lying between Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Khalifa City A, and Khalifa City B, all within a short distance from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The final plan for the project is to integrate an educational hub and to house international think tanks within the city, as Emirati Neighborhood is also expected to become the epicenter for an economic flux in the region and in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

During the last budget reunion of the Executive Council in 2016, an additional budget of AED664 million to develop a 50km road to link the Madinat Zayed and the Al Mafra areas was approved. The Executive Council also awarded three contracts for the final stages of Emirati Neighborhood, which includes a 45-month project to develop roads and two packages consisting of AED108.9 million and AED89 million for two different parts of the project. These actions were taken as a token of the country's leadership commitment to the project deadline as Emirati Neighborhood received the lion's share of the totality of the AED17 billion approved for projects that year.

With the utility and infrastructure plans done, the construction of the actual houses began in mid-2016. The progress on Emirati Neighborhood has also caught the attention of other nations in the region as it has set to become a new vision for housing in countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.