Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's largest developer, has acquired 6.2 million square metres of land on Saadiyat Island as part of its plans to develop a Dh15 billion ($4bn) mega mixed-use project.
The land is valued at Dh3.68bn and the acquisition consideration "will be paid in kind as the development progresses", Aldar said in a statement on Monday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.
The integrated community will include nearly 2,700 residential units, most of which are villas, and will be home to more than 15,000 people when complete.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2022 over a four-year development period.
“This is an incredibly exciting acquisition for Aldar as it will allow us to develop the most strategically located and desirable land available in Abu Dhabi," said Talal Al Dhiyebi, group chief executive at Aldar Properties.
"The transaction is also a milestone in the development of Saadiyat Island as it will lead the island towards becoming a fully developed destination with an even wider choice of villa living."
Abu Dhabi's property market has been recovering from the pandemic-induced slowdown and registered property transactions worth Dh71.5bn in 2021, the Department of Municipalities and Transport said.
Villas, in particular, enjoyed strong demand in 2021, with sale prices recording an average annual growth of 14 per cent last year, driven by existing communities on Saadiyat Island and Yas Island, another report by property consultancy Asteco said.
The emirate has hosted several new launches this year. Last month, Bloom Holding launched a Dh9bn gated community in the capital called Bloom Living, which will feature more than 4,000 Spanish-style villas, townhouses and apartments surrounding a large lake.
Meanwhile Q Properties announced its Dh8bn Reem Hills gated development, a villa project featuring a man-made hill and other luxury amenities.
Aldar also unveiled its Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences project last month, which offers views of the museum and the Arabian Gulf. It will comprise 400 apartments including studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments as well as five penthouses.
The residences will be within Saadiyat Grove and the development has an expected handover date of 2025.
"With a host of cultural, recreational, and leisure amenities on Saadiyat Island and the adjacent Yas Island, the newly acquired plot boasts significant potential," Aldar said on Monday.
Villas and retail offerings in the new development will be spread throughout a "nature-inspired" residential community.
"The development’s ample greenery and parks, which span almost one million square metres, will complement its mangrove surroundings on Saadiyat Island."
Saadiyat Island currently houses the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Saadiyat, five luxury beach resorts and educational institutes including New York University Abu Dhabi and Cranleigh School.
Aldar, which reported a 21 per cent jump in its full-year 2021 profit to Dh2.3bn, recorded strong property sales amid the continued recovery of the UAE's real estate market.
In February, Apollo, one of the world’s largest alternative investment managers, also agreed to invest $1.4bn through some of its funds and clients in Aldar Properties. The deal represents one of the largest foreign direct investments in Abu Dhabi’s private sector.