Miral building Dh6.2bn worth of projects on Yas Island, CEO says

December 19, 2018
An 18,000-seat arena and skydiving chamber are in the works

Miral Asset Management, the master developer of the southern part of Yas Island, has Dh6.2 billion worth of projects under construction as it looks to woo more visitors to its attractions.

Miral, which opened the $1bn Warner Brothers theme park in July, is planning to open the 18,000-seat indoor Yas Bay arena to host concerts and other events, and Clymb, which features a 43-metre indoor climbing wall and a skydiving chamber, said Mohamed Al Zaabi, chief executive of Miral. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi is also on track to open in 2022, he added.

All of Miral's projects are self-financed and there are no plans to get a rating and issue a bond.

“We will continue to add more attractions, more facilities on Yas island,” said Mr Al Zaabi. “We are meeting our budget and we are very happy with the numbers. Our assets are profitable and we use that money to expand and explore more options and to build more assets.”

Miral is an Abu Dhabi Government-backed developer set up in 2011 to manage the entertainment attractions of Yas Island, alongside state-backed developer Aldar Properties, which oversees the residential expansion on the island.

The company is investing Dh4bn out of Dh12bn for the development of Yas South, which includes Yas Bay, an area along the waterfront with a recreational pier and a promenade set to open in 2019 along with Yas Bay Residences.

Yas South will also include the new home of media and entertainment free zone twofour54, which targets 10,000 media professionals. The new zone will be spread across an initial gross floor area of 95,000 square metres, with a plan to increase this to more than 300,000 square metres in the future.

Miral, which has worked on projects outside Yas, is focusing on developments on the island, 50 per cent of which has yet to be developed.

“Until 2025, we will be busy on the island exploring options and developing new facilities,” said Mr Al Zaabi.

Abu Dhabi is building a number of attractions to bring in tourists, including the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2017, the first outpost of the museum outside of Paris.

In the first eight months of this year, the capital city received 3.31 million hotel guests, a 5.8 per cent increase from a year earlier, according to the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi slashed hospitality-related fees from July 1 as part of efforts to boost tourism. The reduced fees included a cut to 3.5 per cent from 6 per cent for tourism fees and lowering the municipal fee for each hotel room to Dh10 from Dh15.

“Tourism can play a good role in contributing to the gross domestic product and that is part of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s strategy to diversify our economy,” said Mr Al Zaabi.