Friday, October 15, 2010

Sowwah Island, Abu Dhabi

Sowwah Island is yet another of the great Abu Dhabi Island Mega Projects. Others include Reem Island, YAS Island and Saadiyat Island. Sowwah Island is a 114 hectare mixed use Mega Project being developed by Mubadala that will become Abu Dhabi's Central Business District. The island is being developed in 3 phases. Sowwah Island occupies a unique location between Abu Dhabi's existing downtown district as well as Reem Island, Mina Zayed and Saadiyat Island. Due to this fantastic location Sowwah Island becomes a natural hub for Abu Dhabi-- a vibrant core combined with landmark architecture seamlessly integrated into the fabric of the city by state of the art multi-tiered transport infrastructure.

Phase 1 of Sowwah Island, Sowwah Square, will be the center of the entire project. Launched in the summer of 2007 and with its first phase to be completed next year, Sowwah Island's four office towers and multiple 5-star hotels flank the capital's new Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) building, in a striking waterfront grouping that creates a strong business and hospitality hub for the island.

Four 30 to 36 storey landmark office towers will provide 180,000 sqm of high quality office space and about 37,000 sqm of retail and F&B space beneath the central square. Two 5-star luxury and business hotels, Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, will overlook the water on either side of the distinctive new headquarters building of the ADX. The Rosewood will be 34 storeys and will consist of 6 luxury penthouses, 189 guest rooms and 131 serviced apartments. The hotel will also feature 20,000 sqm of meeting spaces, a business center, extensive amenities and retail spaces. The Four Seasons will offer 190 deluxe rooms and 125 apartments as well as a rooftop pool and garden. Conference and meeting facilities and a variety of high end restaurants will also be part of the hotel.

A 364 bed multi-speciality hospital, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, is also being built on Sowwah Island and will be located next to Sowwah Square. The hospital will be a center for healthcare excellence in the region and will attract patients from all over the region and all over the globe. Clinic specialities will include cardiac and vascular medicine, neurology, respiratory and critical care, gastroenterology and ophthalmology.

Phase 2 of Sowwah Island will develop the southern and central part of the island with mixed use residential and commercial buildings with a strong focus on community facilities, public open spaces and landscaped parks. Phase 3 of Sowwah Island has not yet been revealed by the developer.

A working population of more than 12,000 in the towers will bring the area to life in the open spaces and waterfront promenades of Sowwah Square's landscaped public areas designed by one of America's leading landscape architects, Martha Schwartz. In the evening the multi-layered transport network will connect the Square's retail and entertainment outlets to the city in it entirety.

The presence of such a high profile anchor tenant like the ADX is an indication of how important Sowwah Square is to the blue chip institutions of the region. Mubadala, the developer of Sowwah Island, has a goal of creating a development that will be home to leading businesses from all over the world.

Large investors in Sowwah Island include The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and Al Hilal Bank. They have taken up the first two of twelve plots available in Sowwah Island's first phase. The banks will each be building an office tower. The other ten plots are at an advanced stage of negotiation.

I think Sowwah Island will be one of the most important of the Abu Dhabi Mega Projects. This is because Sowwah will be the primary business center for Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi is one of the most oil rich and cash rich regions on the planet. Thus a state of the art business district is primary for Abu Dhabi's continued development and expansion.

Here is a link to Mubadala, the developer of Sowwah Island:


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