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Construction update: UAE's $6.8bn Sharjah Waterfront City

by Fatima De La Cerna on Mar 27, 2018


Upon completion, Sharjah Waterfront City's Sun Island will comprise 321 G+2 villas.
Upon completion, Sharjah Waterfront City's Sun Island will comprise 321 G+2 villas.
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Live construction sites don’t typically inspire ruminations on history. It can be hard to wax poetic about the past when surrounded by heavy equipment, grey slabs of concrete, and the exposed skeletons of unfinished buildings. It becomes even more difficult when one is reminded that construction is primarily about the handover date and the final product – the future, some would say.

The ruminations tend to come much later, decades after the completed structure has reshaped the area's skyline, and maybe even its economy. This nostalgia is inspired by ‘before’ photos and video footage, in the way that images of Dubai in the 1970s evoke wistful exchanges about the emirate’s transformation from a trading port to a skyscraper hub – conversations that will no doubt continue, fuelled by the developments under way as the city prepares for Expo 2020.

But while the world is looking at Dubai to see how far – and how tall – its growth ambitions will take the city, its neighbour and sister emirate, Sharjah, is steadily creating the foundation for future discussions about its own transformation, in the form of megaprojects – one of which is Sharjah Waterfront City.

READ: Construction begins on Phase 1 of UAE's $6.8bn Sharjah Waterfront City

A sprawling mixed-use master-planned waterfront community, Sharjah Waterfront City is being developed by Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Company for an estimated cost of $6.8bn (AED25bn). The project has a total land area covering more than 557.4ha and consists of eight interconnected islands, which the developer hopes will eventually be home to more than 60,000 residents.

Once completed, the eight-island development will feature a 36km beachfront, an 800-berth marina, and a water theme park, as well as 95 high-rises, 1,500 villas and townhouses, 14 hospitality properties ranging from hotels to serviced apartments, and two shopping malls.

At the moment, however, the project site is but a hive of construction activity that is largely concentrated on Sun Island, where Tech Construction, a subsidiary of Tech Group, is in the process of building 295 precast villas.

Phase 1 of the Sharjah Waterfront City master plan, Sun Island will have a total of 321 G+2 villas – the 295 that Tech Construction is building, plus 26 existing villas. Of the 321, 109 will be three-bedroom villas and 149 will be four-bedroom, while 22 and 15 will have five and six bedrooms, respectively.

IN PICTURES: Phase 1 of Sharjah Waterfront City, Sharjah

Awarded the main contract, valued at more than $81.7m (AED300m), in August 2017, the contractor’s scope also includes “the complete facelift of the façades of the existing villas so they match the contemporary style” of those under construction, Shiraz Hasan, group chief executive officer of Tech Group, tells Construction Week.

“Construction works on the project started in August 2017,” says Hasan. “Now, overall progress is about 20%, with 80 villas in different stages of construction, but foundation and substructure works like slab-on-grade, which are [necessary] before erecting precast [structures], are 50% done.”

With June 2019 as the target completion date for the Phase 1 villas, Hasan and his team are expecting activity to peak in Q4 2018, when finishing works are likely to start. By then, the number of workers on site – currently at 500 – will go up to 1,100.

Situated on the northeastern coast of Sharjah, the waterfront development overlooks the Arabian Gulf on its western border. It’s a detail that, while adding to the appeal of the property, has posed as a challenge for Tech Group, whose subsidiary companies Tech Engineering, Tech Steel, Tech Remix, Tech Blocks, Tech Aluglass, and Tech Wood are also working on the project.

“There are issues to working on a waterfront project, such as the wind conditions,” explains Hasan. “At times, they make the work a bit difficult for the project team. Also, in certain areas, soil conditions require some soil improvement work to be carried out before construction starts.”

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