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On Site

Location, location, location

The first of the 461 villas in the exclusive Hidd Al Saadiyat development in Abu Dhabi will be handed over in November. Construction Business News paid a visit to the site for a sneak peak.

Location, location, location. The well known real estate mantra probably goes a long way towards explaining why villas at the cheaper end of the AED 2bn ($544mn) Hidd al Saadiyat residential development in Abu Dhabi come with a price tag just shy of $2mn – without a swimming pool – and rise to AED 38mn ($10.34mn) for the palatial properties at the more exclusive end of the island.

But there’s no denying that for that money you get to live in one of the country’s most exclusive gated communities in a quite stunning city location. All of the eight villa types – including those without pools – will have sea views – even if in some cases it might be just a sliver of a view – and have access to nearly 7km of prMangrove_1istine private beaches and turquoise waters.

A recent visit to the 1.5 million square metre project site showed the development substantially taking shape more than three years after construction began in January 2013. Developer Saadiyat Investment
& Development Company (SDIC) has completed the first phase of the project and is gearing up to hand over the first of th
e 461 villas around November.

Work has begun on phase 2 and all remaining villas are due to be gradually handed over by the end of next year. However, for anyone interested in getting a piece of the action there are still a good number of villas available to buy, mostly of the smaller type 6&7, says Marwan Hjazin, director of sales and customer management. They are available to both Emirati investors as well as foreign buyers and slightly more than half of the units sold to date have been snapped up by UAE nationals.

Overall, construction work on the project – led by the main contractor Al Jaber Building – has reached around 65 percent completion, according to Greg Slingerland, project director at LEAD Development, the project management consultants in charge of overseeing Hidd Al Saadiyat. One of the trickier elements of the project for the contractor was the customisation of 112 villas as well as construction of an additional 27 ‘special villas’ built to customer specifications, says Slingerland.

Gulf Contractors Co (GCC) has almost completed infrastructure works, including all the under
ground services such as water, sewerage and electrical cables. All fifteen electrical substations have been installed of which around two thirds have been tested and commissioned. The project’s main roads have all been paved while work on the footpaths and villa driveways is due to commence in the coming months.

Landscaping contractor Gulf Contractors Co Landscaping is on site and is due to complete work in August. Ghantoot has begun construction of the 110 berth marina which will be available to non-resident boat owners. The contracts to build the development’s community centres and mosques are expected to be awarded shortly.

Though Saadiyat is a natural island rather than man made, some work was done on the beaches which are designed to be self-sustaining and use natural forces to regenerate themselves. At the tip of the island, close to where the largest villas are located – a groyne has been added as a barrier to limit the movement of sediment.

Smart homes

In keeping with the trend for all things smart these days, the entire development uses the latest technology to manage energy and water consumption and as a result has been awarded a Pearl 2 Estidama rating, the only villa development in Abu Dhabi to achieve that feat. A state of the art control panel from UT Tech
nology will allow residents to control various systems in their homes – such as air conditioning, lighting and security – which can also be done remotely using a smart phone. The level of technology required to secure the Pearl 2 rating added considerably to the development cost, Slingerland says. Each villa is also equipped with solar panels for water heating and recycles 35% of all waste produced.

The interiors offer the kind of very high end marble and stone finish that you would expect of such a development. We were shown around a completed type 4 villa. In return for an investment of AED14.5nm,
owners will receive a six bedroom house covering 9,139 square feet spread over two floors with spacious reception rooms, high ceilings, ultra-modern kitchens and bathrooms and an outdoor swimming pool.

And so to the all-important location. Hidd Al Saadiyat lies on a strip of land in the north east corner of Saadiyat Island. At its widest point near the entrance the gated community is only 800 metres from one stretch of sand to the other, putting both beaches within easy walking distance and giving residents the feel of living on a small island or a narrow peninsula. But at the same time they will have the city on their doorstep and be within a few minutes’ drive of Abu Dhabi’s new cultural and entertainment quarter that is beginning to take shape.

The Saadiyat Cultural District comprises a trio of world class museums – The Louvre Abu D
habi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum as well a Maritime Museum and a performing arts centre. The island is already home to a number of five star resorts and they will joined by another that will be located close to the entrance of Hidd Al Saadiyat but within the development itself. Estate agents are prone to overusing words like exclusive and unique when talking about their developments but in the case of Hidd Al Saadiyat, they are probably justified. With prices to match.



Developer: SDIC

Main contractor: Al Jaber

Infrastructure: Gulf Contractors Co (GCC)

Marina contractor (110 berth): Ghantoot


Landscaping: Gulf Contractors Co Landscaping (GCCL)

461 Villas

3.5km long

Island is 800 metres at widest point near the entry

AED 2bn total cost

Type 1: 29,000 sq ft and cost AED 38mn

Type 4: 9,139 sq ft and cost AED 14.5mn

Type 8: 4,725 sq ft and cost AED 7.2mn

Project Timeline


Jan – UPC approves the Masterplan

Infrastructure work begins

April – Coastal work begins

June – Construction work begins

August – Awarding villas to consultant

September – Awarded Estidama Pearl 2 rating


September – Completion of coastal works


February – Completion of mock up villas


January – Completion of main roads and utilities

March – Yacht club and marina awarded

Community centres and mosques awarded

April – landscaping awarded

June – Completion of infrastructure works

November – Phase 1 handover to begin

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