PROJECTING GROWTH

Sharjah 2015 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | FOCUS: RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS

Property developers in Sharjah's nascent real estate sector have set their sights on large real estate projects. Increased demand for property in the Emirate has resulted from governmental easing of restrictions on property ownership and rent spikes in neighboring Dubai.

As Sharjah's real estate sector is witnessing a growing demand for property in the Emirate, several real estate developers have launched large-scale projects resembling those in Dubai. As the first of their kind in Sharjah, Al Zahia, Shoumous Residential Complex, and Tilal City exemplify the paradigm shift that is currently underway in Sharjah's real estate market.

A joint venture between the government of Sharjah and Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the Al Zahia project will be Sharjah's first gated community with residential, leisure, retail, and commercial components on a total area of 1.3 million sqm. At a cost of $1.36 billion, this project presents a new dawn for living in Sharjah, boasting spacious three, four, and five bedroom villas and townhouses ranging from 223-595sqm; a community center; swimming pools; a sports center; parks; and playgrounds. An abundance of restaurants and cafes will be on offer, as well as a shopping mall, and an office park will be constructed for commercial activities. On completion in 2019, the entire project will be home to 12,000 residents, offering property on freehold basis to Arab League nationals, and on leasehold basis to non-GCC UAE residents.

Another prestigious project is currently being developed by Shoumous Properties, which is a joint venture between Albatha Real Estate and the MAG Group. Claiming to be the first fully-serviced plot facility for new homes in the UAE, the $150 million Shoumous Residential Complex will have 220 residential plots spread across a 631,800sqm area on which Arab nationals with UAE residence visas will have the freedom to design and build the home of their dreams. Providing a wide range of community services, the complex will have a shared commercial center, three parks, two mosques, and a hypermarket.

At the same time, Sharjah's largest real estate project is being developed by Tilal Properties, which is a joint venture between Sharjah Asset Management and Eskan Real Estate Development. With costs projected at $540 million, Tilal City is an exclusive master planned community that is strategically located in the vicinity of Sharjah International Airport and all major roads connecting to Dubai and Sharjah. Developed on a total area of 2.3 million sqm, the City will be divided into five mixed-use zones that offer high quality living to 65,000 residents on 1,800 plots. In similar fashion as the Al Zahia project, Tilal City offers freehold land to GCC and Arab nationals, whereas ownership for non-GCC UAE residents is provided on a 100-year leasehold basis

Owing to their magnitude, these three projects alone have the potential to transform Sharjah's landscape for the better, and benevolently impact on the Emirate's living standards. These projects are arguably merely the first of their generation, as it seems likely that Sharjah will witness similar projects in the future with the government continuing to ease restrictions on property ownership for non-GCC residents, and rents in Dubai maintaining their exponential growth trajectory. Given the track record of Sharjah's government, however, projects will not come up like mushrooms, but rather will be launched against the backdrop of sustainability, which has become synonymous with the Emirate.