Property

Maldives targets Mideast investors with ‘smart city’ island

Country’s first planned city and most ambitious land reclamation project to be showcased at Cityscape Abu Dhabi

Hulhumalé in the Maldives

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Highly popular with Middle East travellers as a tropical getaway retreat, the Maldives is set to lure investors from the region with a spectacular new island smart city to be showcased at Cityscape Abu Dhabi next month.

Located 8km off the North East Coast of the capital, Malé, and 6.5km from Velana International Airport, Hulhumalé is the first planned city in the Maldives and the most ambitious land reclamation project undertaken in the country to date.

Expected to accommodate 240,000 residents within a land mass of over 400 hectares, Hulhumalé is planned intelligently to become a smart city and will incorporate a smart grid to enhance residents’ experiences of water, electricity, fire and sewage systems which will establish the island as a global tourist hub offering world class resort beaches, diving spots and clear waters.

Additionally, a transport master plan has been developed to include smart city components such as Smart traffic management systems, automatic surveillance, ERP systems, as well as more efficient and ‘smart’ public transportation systems.

The project is managed by the government owned Housing Development Corporation Ltd (HDC) which will be introducing investment opportunities to visitors attending the 11th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, taking place from 18-20 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

“The Maldives boasts a favourable investment climate with business profit tax maintained at 15% and offerings of residential benefits for investors, and we’ve seen an increased interest in the archipelago in recent years from visitors hailing from Middle Eastern countries; a rise of almost 24% from 2015 to 2016.

“If we look at visitors from the UAE specifically, it has grown to about 14.4%,” said Nashwa Abdulla, HDC’s Director of Business Development, Sales and Marketing.

“Hulhumalé also has readily available utility connections and allows for extended lease periods and longer grace periods for investment recovery. Cityscape Abu Dhabi gives HDC the opportunity to tap into the Middle Eastern markets and raise our profile as the main real estate developer in the Maldives as well as seek foreign investments.”

Among the other developments using Cityscape Abu Dhabi as a launch platform for investment opportunities is the Ritz-Carlton Marrakech, situated 20 minutes from the centre of Morocco’s fourth largest city. The 50 hectare estate features 85 private residences, an 80 key Ritz-Carlton hotel and polo club and the first phase of the villas will be unveiled for investors in Abu Dhabi.

With an expected return on investment of 5% on the second year after delivery and a 30 month payment plan offered to investors, the Hotel and Phase one of the residences are currently under construction with the foundation and superstructure already complete.

Ammar Abedelhadi, CEO, Jnan Amar said: “Our project is perfect for GCC investors who are looking for either a holiday home or an investment opportunity. With Morocco being a popular tourist destination, as well as an emerging market in the real state sector, it not only offers a culturally rich and diverse place for Arabs to visit but also a great opportunity for buyers to expand their property portfolios. Our smallest villas start at $1.3 m and although this is our first time participating at the event, we are confident that this development will be a big hit with potential clients at Cityscape Abu Dhabi.”

Continuing with the international appeal, more than 10 other countries will be represented at the capitals largest property show with developers from Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Egypt, Philippines, Portugal, Turkey and UK all making the trip to the UAE to showcase their latest projects.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the show will host a range of exhibitors showcasing projects that will appeal to investors looking for international opportunities in countries with similar religious and cultural backgrounds.

The free to attend Cityscape Talks will be making their debut at the show after proving to be a big hit at Cityscape Global last year and will offer live content direct from the show floor as well as industry sessions focusing on key themes for real estate brokers, architects, engineers and other professionals.

Bringing together investors, developers, government officials and real estate professionals alike, the UAE capital’s largest and most influential property investment and development event is gearing up for a successful edition, with international developers attending the show from more than ten different countries.

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