Private investors invited to develop traditional souq in Abu Dhabi

Souq will be located at historic gateway to Abu Dhabi city

20:49 May 5, 2013

Abu Dhabi: Private investors and developers can now submit bids to develop a traditional souq that will be located at the historical gateway to the capital city, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City announced on Sunday.

The souq, which will span about 150,000 square metres, will be located opposite the landmark Al Maqta Fort, between Al Maqta and Shaikh Zayed bridges. It will also link two of Abu Dhabi’s major tourist attractions, namely the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Khalifa Park.

“The Municipality is [also] in discussion with a wide range of strategic partners to determine important infrastructure requirements for the project, including electricity, water and sanitation, marine links to the souq and the surrounding environment, as well as tourism marketing. All of these are critical to delivering a successful project,” said Rashid Al Omaira, investments and assets adviser within the general manager’s office at the municipality.

Some of these partners include the Department of Transport, which will help coordinate traffic routes in the area, as well as the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the Emirates Heritage Club, which will identify appropriate activities and investments for the traditional souq.

According to the municipality’s plan, the souq is expected to feature retailing options, a waterfront venue, and entertainment and leisure options. A space will also be designated for open-air performances. The municipality has also already surveyed residents and tourists to help determine some of the Emirati traditions and heritage elements that should be included.

Like the souq, a number of shopping and community service destinations will also be developed across the capital city, as announced in a masterplan released by the municipality in March. The plan, which was approved by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, aims to provide easy and convenient access to amenities for Abu Dhabi residents.

Following the announcement, the municipality said in April that it will soon invite private investors and developers to construct community centres, with retail options and public amenities, in four Abu Dhabi suburbs: Bani Yas, Shawamekh, Samha and Nahda. These community centres are expected to offer vital access to services in the respective residential districts.

Some of the other community-based projects that will soon be undertaken by the municipality include rest houses along highways in Abu Dhabi emirate.

Each of the developments will be built under public-private partnerships.