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Stable outlook for Abu Dhabi urban planning

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) approved 22 new projects in the first quarter, shrugging off concerns that a weaker oil price could hit projects.

This will add more than 700,000 square metres of gross floor area in development plans to the capital.

The oil price rout has not caused either private or public sector developers to delay or cancel new projects, said Mohamed Al Khadar, executive director of the UPC.

“The outlook compared to last year is very stable,” Mr Al Khadar said. “We haven’t received any request to delay capital projects. Actually, we have noticed a surge from public developers. By the end of the year we are going to have around 85 to 90 projects, adding about 10 million square metres of floor area,” he said.

Large-scale property projects in the capital require approval from the council before construction can start. Smaller developments are approved by the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs. The list of new projects approved in the first three months of the year includes Al Noor Tower and the Early Childhood Center for Excellence, which was first considered in 2013, and will provide learning facilities for 96 children. Both projects will be launched on Reem Island.

Aldar’s Al Falah Mall, part of a master planned community to the east of Abu Dhabi International Airport, was also given approval, as well as Repton Abu Dhabi High School, and the Shams residential development in Madinat Zayed.

Last year, the UPC approved 76 projects, covering a total floor area of almost 11 million sq feet. The UPC also announced that it had launched a new strategic plan for 2016-20, to tie in with the goals of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. “This is a plan for how we accommodate the emirate’s growth, and the government’s needs,” said Abdulla Al Shamsi, executive director at the UPC. The UPC declined to share details of its plan.

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