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DUBAI/ABU DHABI, March 20 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates (UAE) developers Emaar Properties and Aldar Properties signed a joint venture agreement on Tuesday to develop local and international projects worth as much as 30 billion dirhams ($8.2 billion).
The state-linked developers will work together to develop the “world’s next era of iconic destinations that will shape” the UAE’s skyline, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement.
Dubai-listed Emaar and Abu Dhabi-listed Aldar will initially work as partners on a mixed-used development on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island and on a private, artificial island in Dubai.
Saadiyat Grove, near Abu Dhabi’s recently opened Louvre museum, will open in 2021 with nearly 2,000 residential units, two hotels, and 400 service apartments, the statement said. Saadiyat Island is Abu Dhabi’s cultural district, where there is a New York University campus and a Guggenheim museum is being built.
Emaar Beachfront, the private, artificial island, is under development off the coast of Dubai near the popular Jumeirah Beach residences and the palm tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah Island. It will feature 7,000 residential units.
The statement did not provide details of future projects.
The plans come amid an uncertain outlook for the UAE property market, with property values having weakened in recent years and expected to fall further on excess supply.
Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan witnessed the signing of the agreement by Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar and Aldar Chairman Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the partnership would enhance the UAE’s position as a tourism destination of choice.
“We have great ambitions and we are confident our national firms have the capabilities to achieve them,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who is also the Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE.
Emaar and Aldar are two of the UAE’s largest property developers. Emaar is the developer behind the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and Aldar built Abu Dhabi’s Formula one circuit. ($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell and Stanley Carvalho Editing Alexander Smith and David Goodman)