Sharjah’s multibillion dollar waterfront project will offer boost to family tourism
SHARJAH - Who would not like to stroll down to the beach every day from home as well as live and work in a sustainable, mixed-use modern city that offers security and connectivity, all in a pollution-free environment that is away from the hustle and bustle?
This is exactly what developers of the $6.8 billion Sharjah Waterfront City (SWFC), the 5.6 million-sq.-metre, mixed-use waterfront development in the United Arab Emirates’ Northern Emirates are promising to deliver.
Conceived by Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Company, the project between Umm Al Quwain emirate and Hamriyah Free Zone in Sharjah, was announced at Cityscape Dubai in 2015.
The design and the structuring of man-made canals and eight islands that make up SWFC are ready with 321 villas on the Sun Island — from three-bedroom to six-bedroom units costing $680,000-$2.2 million — to be handed over by the end of 2019.
SWFC, when completed in six phases, is expected to have 60,000 residents. Phase one includes 499 plots in Sun Island and Thuraya Island and a central business district with 24 towers.
In addition to the eight islands, SWFC will have an 800-berth marina, 95 high-rise towers, 1,500 villas and townhouses, a central business district to host blue-chip companies, a large regional shopping mall, a shopping arcade and 14 luxury hotels.
Nearly 60% of the villas on Sun Island have been booked, developers said.
Sheikh Abdullah al-Shakrah, chairman of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate, handed over two power transmission and distribution plants with a capacity of 700 megawatts to the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority. It was the first time a private developer had ensured power supply to cover the entire needs of the project and connected it to the emirate’s main grid.
The SWFC project sits very well with Sharjah’s policy of promoting family tourism and the goal of its Tourism Vision 2021 to attract more than 10 million visitors. Sharjah has begun community projects, including Al Zahia, Tilal City, Aljada and recently three lifestyle community projects by Eagle Hills Sharjah Development.
At SWFC, expats can purchase properties on a 100-year leasehold basis, as per the 2014 update to the emirate’s property law.
Sheikh Abdullah said 20% of the works at SWFC had been completed before the commercial launch of the project. These include the construction of canals, physical infrastructure, power infrastructure, internal roadways, bridges, breakwater barriers for water circulation, installation of geo-textiles for environmental protection, detailed design and piling and shoring works of the villas.
“No developer can undertake to develop such a city on [its] own. We expect other private entities to partner (with) us and launch their projects as per our masterplan… Market conditions will dictate the progress of the project, comprising six phases, which I expected to take over eight to ten years,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
Another highlight of the project is the Crystal Lagoon Water Theme Park, featuring more than 36 unique rides to be designed by Jack Rouse Associates, a US company considered to be the world’s leading destination experience specialist.
The Crystal Lagoon Water Theme Park will occupy one of the islands and the plan is to attract investors to construct villas in a resort-style setting on an adjacent island to accommodate visitors to the water theme park.
Ease of connectivity to the other emirates is another attraction of SWFC. Officials at Sharjah Oasis Real Estate said they will link with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority for a water taxi service that could take passengers from the SWFC marina to Dubai Marina in 20 minutes.
A tram network planned inside SWFC can join the planned Federal Railway line, which will reach the adjoining Hamriyah port.
SWFC is close to three of the UAE’s major highways — Ittihad Road, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road — and will connect to the highways via bridges.
At SWFC, residents will have a sustainable lifestyle and a pollution-free environment with moderate weather throughout the year. Structures will occupy 40% of the project area and the other areas would comprise landscape features. The canals have been designed so seawater ebbs and flows through the natural movement of ocean tides.