UAE's Aldar to see 'a lot of tendering activity' in H2 2017 - Official - Zawya Projects

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UAE's Aldar to see 'a lot of tendering activity' in H2 2017 - Official

UAE's Aldar to see a lot of 'tendering activity' in H2 2017 Photo Credit:BELL POTTINGER/handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya
Projects on Reem Island and Yas Island to be awarded this year.

By Megha Merani

May 2 (TRPN) - Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Aldar Properties PJSC is expected to issue and award main construction tenders for four of its developments in the second half of this year, a company executive said.

Aldar announced in March that it had completed a 3 billion UAE dirham ($816.8 million) investment program that included several new projects in the pipeline ranging from mid-market residential, hospitality and leisure, and retail assets on Yas Island and Reem Island. All projects announced are scheduled to start construction this year and complete during 2019 and 2020, the company said in a statement.

"We'll have a lot of tendering activity in the second half of this year," Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer at Aldar, told Thomson Reuters Projects in an interview at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi conference last month.

He said the projects expected to be tendered include the Yas Mall hotel, the Retail Park on Yas Island and the Shams Central Retail Park on Reem Island.

"These projects are all in the design stage, and we're hoping to tender in the second half of this year," Dhiyebi said.

The projects are also likely to be awarded before the year ends, he added.

The Shams Central Retail Park will include a mosque, a public park and retail. In addition, the mixed-use Shams Marina master plan will feature 329 marina residences, 192 serviced apartments, a 262-key four-star hotel, as well as a club house and private beach.

Dhiyebi said the other elements of the mixed-use project were also at various stages of design with some "potentially" also being tendered this year.

Meanwhile, the 349-key Yas Mall hotel will be attached to the Yas Mall, and include 70 serviced apartments, which are being targeted at the family segment. Dhiyebi added there was also clear demand to expand the Yas Mall project event further.

"We have demand right now for some more big box retail around Yas Mall," he said.

The Retail Park on Yas Island, which already includes Yas Mall, IKEA and Ace Hardware, will extend to include a leasable area of 27,000 square metres and feature new car dealerships and food outlets.

Dhiyebi told Thomson Reuters Projects last month that Aldar also plans to tender its six-tower The Bridges project "in the next few months" with construction due to commence in Q4 2017. The mid-market project is due to complete in Q1 2020.

The company said in a statement that it had sold all the homes available in the two towers during the Cityscape Abu Dhabi real estate exhibition last month, with total sales signed of around 400 million UAE dirhams.

The developer is also currently assessing bids for its Yas Acres mixed-use project that launched at Cityscape in 2016.

"We are currently in evaluation stage," Dhiyebi said. "We are imminently expected to award a large construction contract on Yas Acres for development of the infrastructure and villas."

The developer awarded a 155 million UAE dirham contract for foundation works to Bauer Geotechnical Specialized Foundation in October last year.

Acquisitions and expansion

Aldar's investment program is also focused on expanding its asset management portfolio, driving growth of recurring revenue.

As part of this strategy, the developer said three of the six towers at 'The Bridges' would not be sold to market and instead be added to its growing portfolio of investment properties and leased to tenants.

The company also acquired commercial office building Daman House last year, and Dhiyebi said Aldar was open to further acquisitions.

"We are actively looking in the market," he said. "If there are opportunities that meet our investment hurdles, then we are in a position that we can transact if the opportunity is right."

He added however that there was no strict timeline for the acquisitions.

"We are not in a rush to do anything, but if an opportunity comes on the table, we will definitely look at it."

At its annual general meeting in March, Aldar said it planned to invest 1.9 billion UAE dirhams in recurring revenue assets on Yas Island and Reem Island, as it bid to increase net operational income from 1.6 billion UAE dirhams in 2016 to 2.2 billion UAE dirhams in 2020.

(Reporting by Megha Merani) ((megha.merani@thomsonreuters.com;))