Sharjah Waterfront City, the largest such mixed-use waterfront development with a marina in the northern emirates, was first announced at Cityscape Dubai in late 2015. Within two years the project has been fine-tuned as per the market conditions, and has also achieved key milestones, creating significant buyer interest in the region.
The project comprises eight man-made islands that can host 60,000 people. It will have a marina with 800 berths, 95 high-rise towers, 1,500 villas and town houses, a central business district to host blue-chip companies, a large regional shopping mall, a shopping arcade and 14 luxury hotels with ballrooms and convention centres.
Residents and visitors will have access to the beach and a Crystal Lagoon Water Theme Park
Designed to add to Sharjah’s rising profile as a family-friendly destination, the project also features the Crystal Lagoon Water Theme Park, which will have 36 unique rides. The theme park is designed by Jack Rouse Associates, a destination experience specialist based in the US.
Located between Umm Al Quwain and Hamriyah Free Zone, Sharjah Waterfront City also features high on connectivity and sustainability and is designed to be a pollution-free city, where the landscaped features will comprise 60 per cent of the development. Solar and renewable energy will power street lighting and many other facilities within the city.
Sharjah Waterfront City fact sheet
mixed-used waterfront community
residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment
More than Dh25 billion
Number of islands
60 million sq ft
1,500 villas and town houses
95 mid-rise and high-rise towers
14 hotels and serviced apartments
800 berths for boats and luxury yachts
Paved roads and a tram network
Up to 700 MW
60% landscape, 40% civil structures
499 plots on Sun Island and Thuraya Island and a Central Business District with 24 Towers
Phase I value
Phase I area
4.5 million sq ft
Phase I built-up area
16.6 million sq ft
The eight islands are positioned between natural channels spread over 36km of coastal land along the north-east coast of Sharjah. Clean seawater is renewed in its channels every 12 hours, in line with the natural tide of the Arabian Gulf. The channels and foundations have been covered in geotextiles, which will help absorb pollutants from the water, as well as shore up and strengthen the piling and foundations around the project and prevent soil erosion. Internally, the islands will be connected by a proposed tram service that can eventually connect to a federal rail system. The developers also propose to have a water taxi service with the cooperation of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, which can take residents and visitors to Dubai Marina in 20 minutes.
The Waterfront City is adjacent to the federal highway network — Ittihad Road, Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road — and will be linked to those highways through two road bridges.
Shaikh Abdullah Al Shakrah, chairman of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Co., the developer behind the iconic project, last month handed over two power transmission and distribution plants to Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) to power the project. Al Shakrah said the power utilities were built with the company’s own resources to ensure uninterrupted supply of up to 700 megawatts for the waterfront community. Costing Dh250 million, the utilities were the first such large power distribution and transmission plants built by a developer and handed over to the state-owned public utility.
Artist's impression of the five-bedroom beachfront villas
“This demonstrates our strong commitment to the economy of the UAE and Sharjah,” said Shaikh Al Shakrah. “Our strategy is to develop sustainable development projects in Sharjah.”
Sharjah Oasis Real Estate also unveiled various construction activities for phase one of the project at a cost of Dh3 billion. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2019. Along with the infrastructure work, 321 villas are also under construction on the Sun Island featuring three- to six-bedroom units. The residences are expected to cost between Dh2.5 million and Dh8 million.
Around 20 per cent of the project has been accomplished, even before its commercial launch. These include the construction of the canals, physical infrastructure, power infrastructure, internal roadways, bridges, breakwater barriers for water circulation, installation of geotextiles for environmental protection, detailed design and piling and shoring works of the villas.
The making of a waterfront city
No stone was left unturned in the development of the Sharjah Waterfront City. Studies were commissioned to ensure the right technologies and techniques are used in the project. In one study, consultants provided the exact number of people who can be conveniently accommodated in the community, along with traffic flow in and out of the islands.
The developer, Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Company, has also ensured that the island will be friendly to the environment using various solar systems, water treatment technologies and other eco-friendly materials and solutions in building and maintaining the island.
In exclusive with PW, Mohamad Chadi Itani, media and marketing consultant of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate Company, talks more about the key features of the development.
How are you building the islands?
One of the major features about the project is that it has been created on natural land. What we did is to actually dig canals to allow the sea water to go into the land.
The shape of the project itself was created in a way to make sure that the circulation of the water inside the project was totally natural. Every 12 hours, the water goes out and comes in, depending on the tide. So it depends on the natural movement of the sea itself. It was created by two major companies from the UK and Holland — Halcrow and Dolfet. They designed the shape and master plan, making sure that the circulation of the water inside the project is totally natural.
What can we expect from it?
The project is in the Hamriya area in Sharjah, just on the border with Umm Al Quwain, close to the Hamriya Free Zone. We have access to three highways — Al Ittihad Road, Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road.
The area covers 60 million sq feet and it will have 1,500 villas, 95 mixed-use towers, 14 hotels, a marina that can accommodate 800 yachts, a 1.6-million-sq-ft water theme park with 36 rides, a number of schools, hospitals and a branch of a university — all combined to create a waterfront community.
Tell us about the community.
Every island is a community by itself — it is a gated community with security. Only the property owners and their guests are allowed into the island. Plus, it is a serviced community, so there’s a commercial area with day-to- day activities and residents need not even have to go outside.
It is a green community. We have solar systems. The water heaters and the lights in the parks and streets use solar systems. There is a water treatment system and the materials that we have used are green. We have also used geotextiles. Once we dug the canals, we created 36km of beaches.
And to make sure that the water will stay clean, we used what is called geotextiles to cover all the outside parts of the project from the deep parts of the sea to the surface covering all 36km of beaches. Its main purpose is to serve as a filter to make sure that the canals will always be clean, plus it ensures there is no erosion of the sand.
Sixty per cent of the project covers beaches, parks and green landscapes and only 40 per cent will be used for construction. Our infrastructure consultant is WSP and they did a traffic study for us. As per their study, we are going to have a population of 60,000 and with the number of visitors it will be a total of 150,00 people. The number of attractions that we have — the mall, the water theme park and the marina will bring in visitors and as per the study, [but] there will never be a traffic jam.