Lead Development and TNI team up on Masdar City development

Abu Dhabi-based developer Lead Development and The National Investor (TNI) are joining forces to build the first private villa and town house community at Masdar City.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lead and TNI said that they had jointly bought a 830,000-square-metre plot in the southern district of Masdar City’s Free Zone, which is planned to develop as middle-income housing.

Lead, which was founded in 2010 by former Sorouh chief executive Mounir Haidar, is still finalising its plans for the Masdar residential community and so could not say how many villas it would build on the site. However, it said that the project would cover a floor area of 250,000 sq metres and would eventually accommodate around 5,000 residents.

The developer, which is currently working as project management consultant on the Hidd Al Saadiyat villa development on Saadiyat Island, and has worked on Capital Plaza on the Abu Dhabi Corniche and 98 villas on the Eastern Ring Road, said that it expected to complete the development in 2022.

Last year Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council approved detailed master plans for a 637,000-sq-metre phase 2 of Masdar City which will include a research and development cluster, 2,000 apartments and a Gems school as well as another 341,000 sq metres phase which will include 1,000 homes.

Most of the new developments will be built by third-party developers with Mubadala-owned Masdar acting as a master developer.

Only about 5 per cent of the Norman Foster-designed Masdar City master plan has been completed, most of which includes the prestigious Masdar Institute, which specialises in researching renewable technology.

The development, which was first unveiled in 2007 as the world’s first entirely self-sustaining, zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city, was originally slated to be completed in 2016.

By the end of 2016, Masdar was originally envisaged to be housing 40,000 residents and 50,000 workers in super-sustainable surroundings.

But the project was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis which effectively put a break on Masdar’s development. This forced the developer to redesign the project along more commercial lines, drop plans to make the development carbon-neutral and to invite third- party developers to build out large chunks of the city.

Lead and TNI said that its project would meet a minimum 3 pearl rating – two notches from the optimum super-green 5 pearl rating laid out by Abu Dhabi UPC’s Estidama sustainability framework. Originally Masdar had said that it hoped most of the developments in the master plan would reach 4 pearl rating.

“It is a great opportunity to be working closely with Masdar to deliver this unique sustainable development,” said Abdullah Mazrui, the chairman of TNI.

“Lead and TNI will work with the Masdar team to deliver a project in line with Abu Dhabi’s regulations for sustainable, ­water and energy efficient real estate developments.”


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