Abu Dhabi's Yas Creative Hub for media and gaming industry to open from November

The 270,000-square-metre project is expected to create jobs for up to 16,000 professionals in the next decade

Abu Dhabi’s newest megaproject for the creative industry is set to open in November.

Yas Creative Hub will host some of the biggest names in the media, entertainment and gaming sectors.

The 270,000-square-metre project is expected to create jobs for up to 16,000 professionals by the end of 2031, tripling the number of people employed in the sectors in the capital.

The hub will become the new home of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, the capital's media free zone, as well as hundreds of other businesses.

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Migration is complex. I would say companies will be able to move into the campus only by mid-next year

Some companies could begin to move into the hub in November, but the majority are expected to do so next year.

"More than 600 companies and thousands of people will move to the creative hub," Michael Garin, chief executive of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, told The National's Business Extra podcast.

“This is not an overnight process. And while the construction work was a very complex exercise, the migration is equally complex.

“I would say companies will be able to move into the campus only by mid-next year.”

The hub will host a growing gaming industry, as well some of the biggest production companies in Hollywood and Bollywood.

“We have been one of only two jurisdictions in the world, the other being Ireland, to maintain production since the beginning of the pandemic,” Mr Garin said.

"More than $100 million was spent on film and television production at a time when everywhere else in the world shut down.

"The Mission Impossible crew came here in January and February and shot their last scene. We had 1,000 people on the set and did not have a single Covid case."

But the pandemic did have an effect on the project, he said.

It changed what some companies wanted to do with their workspaces, because many employees now work from home.

But Mr Garin said his company was able to adjust to the new demands, because the buildings were still being fitted out.

"We obviously couldn't change the physical structure of the buildings. But when the pandemic hit, we could change everything inside," he said.

“Obviously, there's no good time for a pandemic, but it hit us just at the time when we could still transform the interiors. And instead of building the offices of yesterday, we build the new offices of tomorrow.”

That means space will be made available that companies will actually use, he said.

"We're offering to organisations the space that they know they absolutely need. And then almost like on an a la carte basis, we're having hot-desking conference rooms, screening rooms and other facilities that they only pay for when they use them," he said.

"That has allowed us to bring a lot more companies than we could have accommodated if they signed a contract for space in the old-fashioned way."

The project will comprise five towers housing more than 600 businesses.

The hub will be built in an area to be known as Media Boulevard, which will have a 23,000-square-metre park and a 6,000-square-metre plaza.

There will be a 6,500-square-metre studio and production space at the hub that will help to double the number of international and local productions Abu Dhabi can host each year.

The site will be the size of 40 football pitches when completed. An amphitheatre, parks, cafes and restaurants will all feature along a landscaped terrace that connects the hub with Yas Bay Waterfront and the Etihad Arena.

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