Ras Al Khaimah is witnessing a commercial building boom with host of new projects, even including a $265m commercial spaceport. Located in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula, Ras Al Khaimah is bordered by Oman and has a population of 250,000 people.

The Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority has attracted Dh2.5bn ($680m) in industrial investment in its first year of operation and projects worth a total of Dh20bn are currently under way. According to the UAE’s ministry of finance and industry, investment in the country’s industrial sector totalled $19.2bn in 2006, up 3% on the previous year. Foreign investment totalled $2.7bn.

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Among the more significant investments are those by Guardian Industries, investing in a $115m float glass plant, and Falcon Technologies International, constructing a high-tech DVD plant. Khoie Properties has unveiled a $150m seven-storey freehold commercial development at its $800m La Hoya Bay Residence development on Marjan Island.

Asam Investments & Real Estate has launched the Grosvenor Business Tower. A regional first, the Dh450m development is a branded office tower. Located in the Tecom free zone, off the Sheikh Zayed road, it will provide end-users with an opportunity to own their own office space. Increasing rentals have seen a surge in demand for freehold commercial space, particularly for properties in region’s free zone areas, which are proving a great success.

The Grosvenor Business Tower, designed by the Arch Group, features a roof-top recreation zone, The Unwind, comprising a health club, pool, sauna and steam rooms. In addition to the commercial and recreational spaces, the tower will also have a retail zone, The Avenue, located on the ground floor. Construction is due to be completed by April 2008.

Sharjah wins attention

In response to the belief that better returns may now be achievable from investing in less developed areas, six investors, led by property development and investment firm SNASCO, have launched the Sharjah Investment Centre (SIC), a mixed-use development near the Sharjah International Airport.

Ajman is investing Dh15bn in its Emirates City comprising of 72 residential and commercial towers, ranging from 20 to 50 floors. It is being developed in stages, with the first comprising of 25 towers. Another significant development is the Al Ameera Village, a $327 freehold project. The development covers three million square feet and will include 50 traditional residential buildings, hotel apartments as well as commercial areas and a shopping mall, among a host of additional features – from parks and gardens to a mosque and a nursery.

Further north, the Um Al Quwain emirate is also benefiting as development spreads out from the cities. At the Emirates Modern Industrial Area, Tameer Holding Company is selling freehold warehouses at prices starting at Dh150 per square foot and Tameer has also launched its largest project, Al Salam City in Um Al Quwain.

Fujairah attracts cash

Fujairah’s largest deal, a Dh5.4bn investment, is with a Ukrainian company and involves oil and natural gas exploration in Fujairah and Abu Dhabi. In 2006, the Fujairah Free Zone, adjacent to the Port of Fujairah, continued to attract new businesses, recording a 30% increase in companies registering.

Al Ain, located 140 kilometres from Dubai and known as the ‘Garden City’, is set to be home to the Al Ain Industrial City. Planned by the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones in Abu Dhabi, it has been launched as part of the government’s efforts to diversify the national economy.