DESERT ISLAND

Sharjah 2015 | ECONOMY | FOCUS: SIR BU NAIR ISLAND

Sir Bu Nair Island, a predominantly uninhabited island located off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, is being developed by Shurooq into a unique destination.

Sir Bu Nair Island, 112km off the coast of Sharjah, is one of the UAE's most important ecological areas with stunning natural scenery and sandy beaches that contain a high level of biodiversity. With a diameter of 4km and total surface of 13sqm, the island has also historically been a strategically important meeting place for hunters and fishermen. The island is also located in one of the world's most prolific hydrocarbon basins, and is being developed by Crescent Petroleum as the concession holder of the area. In order to revitalize the island, and to take a significant slice of the UAE's growing tourism sector, Shurooq has designated the island as one of its landmark projects.

With an estimated cost of $136.12 million, the Sir Bu Nair Island project seeks to recreate the social, commercial, and community fabric of the island. Capturing the architecture of the region, the project includes the construction of a luxury five-star hotel and resort, which will have sixty one-bedroom suites and a number of beach chalets and private villas. Additionally, a 9,693sqm village will be erected consisting of two two-bedroom villas, 10 three-bedroom villas, four four-bedroom villas, one VIP villa, and a total of thirty two and three-bedroom apartments. In line with the Emirate's overall focus on education, the project includes a museum and an education center, which will have 22 six-bed chalets for students. The retail component of the project will consist of 16 retail areas, varying from 50-150sqm. The project foresees the creation of a mosque and an amphitheater.

In order to smoothen the journey to the island, which takes two to three hours by ship, 25 minutes by plane from Jebel Ali, and 40 minutes by plane from Sharjah, and to boost visitor numbers, the island's current infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Therefore, a harbor will be constructed, as well as an airport, which should enable an increase in the current flow of traffic to and from the island.

With a total size of 37,700sqm, the project will offer high-end luxury and comfort. Upon completion in 2017, it will be “one of the rarest gems in the crown of Sharjah,” according to HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq. The importance of this project was reiterated by HH Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, who told TBY that the development of Sir Bu Nair Island is one of Sharjah's most “ambitious and groundbreaking projects.”

This project is a prime example of Sharjah's sustainable growth strategy, as it presents an ambitious project of unprecedented scope for the Emirate, but one that is still firmly grounded in the cultural heritage and traditions of the region, creating a bridge between Sharjah's Islamic and Arabic roots, and the needs and wishes of the present day visitor. Expected to be serving as an additional driver of Sharjah's economy once it is completed, the success of the project will pave the way for additional developments elsewhere in the Emirate.