While the Palm islands and The World in Dubai have gained global attention, similar water-based projects are being developed across the UAE as demand for upscale lifestyle properties increases.

Nujoom Islands, also referred to as Stars Islands, is a major new real estate company and infrastructure project located within seven minutes of Sharjah International Airport. Being developed by Saudi-based real estate company Al Hanoo Holdings, it is set to cost Dh18bn ($24bn) and will cover more than five million square metres along the Sharjah coast off Hamriyah beach.

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The Umm Al Quwain Marina, which is to the north of the Nujoom Islands and located on the shore of the wildlife-rich Khor Al Beidah, is scheduled for completion within seven years. Emaar is developing the project with 2600 residential villas and 6500 apartments as well as 1200 resort and hotel rooms, parks, recreational areas, retail facilities, schools and a community centre.

Emirates Sunland Group recently announced it has sold out the first phase of 75 villas at White Bay, a $3bn resort-style residential community, in Umm Al Quwain. The project is being developed by Al Murjan Real Estate around two man-made islands.

Highway connection

One key factor in the countrywide real estate surge has been the completion of the Emirates Road highway, making previously inaccessible northerly emirates, such as Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah, accessible.

Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates covering just 260 square kilometres, but it defies its size with the range of developments under construction. The Ajman Investment and Development Authority has set up Aqaar, a semi-governmental company, to develop Ajman’s real estate potential. Aqaar’s first job will be to oversee the Ajman 1 project, a mixed use development consisting of 12 freehold towers.

Among the most eye-catching developments, though, is Emirates City, a contemporary residential and commercial development located in the heart of Ajman. The Dh15bn project is to comprise 25 residential and commercial towers, landscaped gardens, hotels, mosques, health, education, shopping and leisure facilities. The development, located on the Emirates Road, is expected to transform Ajman.

Two new Emirates City towers stand out: the Lilies Tower and the Lavender Tower. The 40-storey buildings combine architectural elegance with brilliant engineering. Both will offer a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, a club house with gym, sauna and swimming pool, security and state of the art communications.

Paradise Lake Towers are a collection of 25-storey buildings that surround the two Emirates City lakes. Four of the towers are part of Goldcrest Dreams, which is being developed by Star Giga Establishment. The towers have been developed to cater for the demands of what the developers call “an ultra modern lifestyle”. The development is conveniently located on the Emirates Road, 20 minutes from Dubai International Airport and 15 minutes from Sharjah’s airport.

Other significant developments include the Orbit Tower by Palm Real Estate Investment Group and the Al Naeymiyah Towers, which is said to be the first freehold residential development in Ajman.

Big city aspirations

Another residential and commercial project under way in Ajman is the Al Ameera Village. A small town community with big city aspirations, the project comprises 50 residential buildings, hotel apartments and a shopping mall with board walks, gardens and a public park.

One of Umm Al Quwain’s most ambitious developments concerns the Dh30bn Al Salam City. Sharjah-based Tameer Holdings and the Al Rajhi Group of Saudi Arabia each own 38.5% of the project and the Umm Al Quwain government holds the remaining 23%. Construction work on the first, five-year phase is expected to start later this year. On completion, Al Salam City will have 1000 buildings.

Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Hamra Village is due for completion later this year while The Cove, spread across 50 acres of beachfront land, is due to be completed in the summer. The Cove has 134 Nubian-style furnished chalets and a five-star beach hotel.