Prestigious Abu Dhabi building needs to be more than broken dream, say neighbours

A huge glass structure on the Abu Dhabi Corniche has gone unused for more than 5 years. Now, residents say they still do not know what will become of "The Wing".

A huge glass structure on the Abu Dhabi Corniche has gone unused for more than 5 years. Now, residents say they still do not know what will become of "The Wing". Silvia Razgova / The National
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ABU DHABI // It cost millions of dirhams to build and is a prominent fixture of the capital’s Corniche, but The Wing has been unused since completion in 2009.

Residents living near by have expressed their disappointment that it has not been put to use and said that it would have encroached on their privacy had it gone ahead as planned.

The structure, near Zayed Port, was intended to be an exclusive Formula One club, and was built by Aldar Properties.

In 2009, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management said: “The Wing is scheduled to officially launch at the end of 2009.”

The venue was designed to look like the lines of the rear wing of an F1 car, with a glass-walled restaurant and lounge.

“We believe The Wing will become the social hub of Abu Dhabi as well as a sought-after destination for regional and international visitors,” said Richard Cregan, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management at the time.

The glass structure overlooks villas. One compound has ten villas spread over 8,000 square metres and has a swimming pool, parks and play areas.

A resident, M N, who has lived in the area for more than 15 years, said when the building started they were unaware what was being built but had heard the rumours of an F1 club.

He said that residents raised concerns for their privacy and approached the relevant authorities.

“Some officials inspected our compound as well as the glass structure and realised that this may disturb residents in the vicinity and shut it,” M N said. “So far, we don’t know what will happen to this structure, which has been empty for more than five years,” he said.

M N said it was an area where children and families walked around, so a high-end cafe or club would create too much activity and traffic, which would not be good for family living.

Other residents said that the space could be developed to help the community.

G P said: “This should be converted into a hospital, school or a library for wider benefits of the community.

“The structure lying unused for more than half a decade is disappointing to see.

“It must be utilised for a good cause. Until now there has been no activity, so we have not had a problem. But I’m happy that a club is not coming just in front of my house,” said G P, who has lived in the area for 10 years.

When The National went to visit to the building, it found developers inspecting the property with the aim of buying it and redeveloping it.

A representative of a major hypermarket chain who did not want to be named said: “I came to inspect the place so that we can quote Aldar our price to buy it. It’s been more than six months and still our negotiations are under way. Several other companies also are negotiating with Aldar to buy it,” he said.

Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, Aldar Properties and the construction licensing body, Abu Dhabi Municipality, have refused repeated requests for comment.