Abu Dhabi make-over can learn from Dubai, UPC says

Development planner for capital district flags cautious outlook

Abu Dhabi will reemphasise the 'right type of projects'
Abu Dhabi will reemphasise the 'right type of projects'

Abu Dhabi’s monster project for its capital district will be a return to a more considered approach to planning and budgeting following the lessons learned from neighbouring emirate Dubai, according to the UPC’s senior development manager for the region.

James Reed told CW at Cityscape Abu Dhabi on Monday that the conservative approach of the UAE’s richest emirate, whose 20-year plans for its central area was revealed in a scale model at the conference, would continue with steady assessments.

“Traditionally, financing has been government-backed,” he commented. “Dubai had been an example of a change in that process. [Now] there’s been a change towards building the right type of projects, the right hotels needed where and when. Dubai was not rich in itself and as much a victim of the activities in the global marketplace.”

But he added that the door to Abu Dhabi’s projects would still be open to the private sector, providing the prospective companies were in for the long-haul. “There a conservative approach as to how outside investments are approached, and rightly so,” he said.

“If we can find a way to have outside investment and long-term economic security then I think it would be a good direction to move in.”

Baniyas Investment & Development Company, creators of the Bawabat Al Sharq development in Bani Yas City in Abu Dhabi, could be one such company that throws its hat in the ring for future tenders.

CEO Wael Tawil said that parts of the UPC’s project might be something “to take into consideration down the line. Right now we have to deliver Bawabat Al Sharq on time and that’s what we’re doing”.

“Part of the formula is feasibility,” he added, when asked about the future of private sector projects. “You have to prove each project. We had to show Bawabat Al Sharq was feasible, then give it to professional entities and share it with banks and investors. No-one would shy away from something that is profitable and the key is feasibility.”

He did not believe that contract sizes would necessarily be smaller when they do emerge for the many parts of the capital district’s development.

He added however, that apart from the 22-storey residential tower in Mohammed Bin Zayed City unveiled last year, the company was working on a project outside the UAE, “in the Middle East-North Africa region”.

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