Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Partners with Gulf Related in Sowwah Island Mixed-Use Development

» Featured Columnists | By Alma Kadragic | January 27, 2011 10:24 AM ET

(ABU DHABI, UAE) -- Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality (MREH) announced this week it has formed a joint venture  with Gulf Related, a regional real estate development company.  The new JV was created to develop, lease, and operate The Galleria at Sowwah Square, a 33,000 square meter retail and dining concept in Sowwah Square, the commercial real estate development located at the heart of Abu Dhabi's new Central Business District on Sowwah Island.

Scheduled to open late next year, The Galleria at Sowwah Square will be a shopping and dining destination with a range of luxury to mid-market international stores and internationally branded food and beverage outlets. A sculptural atrium roof will be the highlight of the design, providing an iconic image for the new center with spectacular views of Abu Dhabi's skyline.

Access to all project components will reflect a mixed-use strategy with the same level of service offered to the blue chip tenants of the four Sowwah Square commercial towers. The Galleria at Sowwah Square conveniently integrates shopping, dining, hotels, parking, cafes, and public spaces and is directly accessible from all four towers.

Peter Wilding, Executive Director MREH, said, "Sowwah Square is rapidly establishing itself within the region and internationally as the heart of Abu Dhabi's new Central Business District and Gulf Related's best-in-class expertise and brand relationships will ensure that the office and hotel community, Sowwah Island's residents and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a dynamic atmosphere within a unique retail and F&B destination at Sowwah Square."

Gulf Related, formed in 2009, is a partnership between Gulf Capital, one of the Middle East's leading alternative asset management firms, and Related Companies, one of the largest private real estate development and investment firms in the United States, developers of New York's landmark Time Warner Center and West Palm Beach's dynamic City Place.

Kenneth A. Himmel, Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related and President and CEO of Related Urban, said, "Related Companies has created some of the most recognizable and celebrated mixed-use developments in the United States. We are excited to bring our expertise to Abu Dhabi through our partnership with Mubadala,  leverage our strong European and U.S. retail, restaurant, and entertainment relationships, and to be a part of such a prestigious and promising development."

The Galleria at Sowwah Square will capitalize on the adjacent five-star Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Sowwah Square and Rosewood Abu Dhabi Hotel; the region's foremost healthcare facility, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; and approximately 183,000 leasable square meters of Grade-A office space with accommodation for over 10,000 occupants.

Dr. Karim El Solh, Co-Managing Partner of Gulf Related and CEO of Gulf Capital, said, "We have been intensely studying regional development opportunities for the last year and have singled out this development as one of the most promising and commercially viable projects in the current environment.  We look forward to continuing and expanding our successful working relationship with Mubadala on this and other projects."

Sowwah Island is a 114 hectare mixed-use development in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has been designated by the emirate's Urban Planning Council to be home to the capital's new Central Business District for its strategic position at the focal point of the city's business, cultural and residential areas.

When complete, Sowwah Island will be a high-density residential, retail, leisure, hotel, and commercial district with a working population of 75,000 and home to 30,000 residents, living an urban lifestyle enlivened by everything the modern city dweller demands in a contemporary cityscape.

Mubadala Development Company is a catalyst for the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi.  Established and owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, the company's strategy is built on the management of partnerships and long-term, capital-intensive investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and contribute to the growth and diversification of its economy.

MREH is a business unit of Mubadala focused on domestic and international projects in the real estate and hospitality sectors. With a mandate to drive Abu Dhabi's long-term development and deliver key projects within Capital 2030: Urban Structure Framework Plan, MREH develops strategic, large scale commercial, residential and leisure districts to the best standards of quality, functionality and sustainability.  Key Abu Dhabi projects include the development of Sowwah Island, Sowwah Square, Arzanah and Mina Zayed Waterfront.

Gulf Related is a regional real estate development venture primarily focused on residential and high-end mixed-use real estate destination developments in the MENA region. Related Companies and its principals pioneered the concept of mixed-use urban development beginning in the 1970s developing such destinations as Water Tower Place and 730 North Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, Copley Place in Boston, Massachusetts, and Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia.

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