Cluttons UAE predicts a Sharjah Renaissance by year end 2011
Cluttons, the leading real estate firm that has enjoyed a presence in the Middle East since 1976, today points to a renaissance in Sharjah. The driving factor behind such rejuvenation is the Sharjah government, as it actively seeks to enhance the quality of life in the Emirate for both residents and visitors. Evidence of this trend includes the regeneration of the Al Majaz Waterfront, twinned with the Sharjah Mall Development, the Sahara Mall extension and the emergence of several well know hotel operators in Sharjah for the first time.
According to recent research, Sharjah has the second highest population growth rate in the UAE behind Dubai, with the UAE itself having one of the highest population growth rates in the world. The bulk of Sharjah’s population is within the 25 – 34 year old age bracket, which is a key consumer and labour demographic. In addition to its healthy resident population, Sharjah also receives approximately 1.5 million tourists annually, with a projected annual growth rate of
10 – 15%.
With Sharjah airport planning an AED 500 million expansion and Air Arabia expanding to new routes there is a clear demand to strengthen Sharjah’s position as a key destination for both tourists and residents of the UAE. Encouraged by the success of the Al Qasba development, Shurooq ‘The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority’, are in the process of upgrading Al Majaz Park on the Al Buhaira Corniche into a key waterfront attraction for the Emirate. Due to open at the end of the year, Shurooq expects that it will provide a much-needed focal point for social and cultural activities.
An important feature of the development will be a large fountain on the water’s edge. The fountain will be flanked with a row of restaurant and café units, which will further enhance the overall experience. Will Neill, Associate Director for Cluttons UAE comments, “Shurooq are committed to raising the standard of living within the Emirate which is evident in a number of up and coming developments they have planned. The Al Majaz Waterfront will be a fantastic development and will help lead the way for the continued regeneration of the Corniche and Sharjah as a whole.
Not only do we expect the park to be a big attraction for the residents of Sharjah, but we also predict that it will bring non residents in for entertainment purposes.” Another important scheme to mention is the ‘Heart of Sharjah’ restoration project in which Shurooq aim to revitalise and preserve the heritage area in the heart of Sharjah. This will be the region’s biggest heritage project and will provide a Grand Souk, 50 bedroom boutique hotel, museums and art galleries, a waterfront promenade and various food and beverage outlets
showcasing the foods from around the region.
Elsewhere, Shajah’s renewed energy is evident in the hotel and serviced apartment market, one that has traditionally been owned and controlled by local operators. The recent opening of Ramada furnished apartments in January 2011, opposite to the Sahara Mall in Al Nahda seems to be the start of a new trend in the market for using branded operators. The presence of Holiday Inn and other recognised hotel brands, which are expected to have a presence further illustrate this movement. From a retail perspective, the anticipated Sharjah Mall in Al Khan and the extension of the Sahara Mall, due for completion in late 2011 also helps to highlight the demand that exists from retailers for the Emirate. The Sahara extension is expected to increase the retail area of the mall by more than 50%, attracting a number of anchor and high-end occupiers.
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