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Jubail Island: LEAD Real Estate Developer’s $4.08 bn triumph in sustainable urban luxury

Mounir Haidar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of LEAD Real Estate Developer, takes us behind the scenes of Jubail Island, revealing how they’re sculpting a legacy linked with Abu Dhabi’s natural tapestry and heritage

Jubail Island: LEAD Real Estate Developer’s $4.08 bn triumph in sustainable urban luxury

In 2010, Abu Dhabi’s real estate market saw the entry of a new, dynamic participant — LEAD Real Estate Developer. Born with a clear strategic direction, LEAD aimed to offer clients, landowners, and potential homeowners a new dimension of comfort, presenting a range of sophisticated real estate options. Since its inception, LEAD has played a significant role in the market, successfully completing projects worth over $7.62 billion (AED28 billion). Its portfolio boasts notable developments such as the Waldorf Astoria DIFC, Hidd Al Saadiyat, Capital Plaza, and Sofitel Dubai Downtown.

History shows that the real estate sector is often driven by visionaries who aren’t just building structures but shaping people’s lives and defining city skylines. Mounir Haidar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of LEAD, exemplifies this trait. His approach goes beyond mere construction, as he seeks out untapped potential and explores innovative avenues to influence both lifestyle and urban landscapes.

“First, I would like to thank our leadership and the Abu Dhabi Government for their unwavering support to us and the wider real estate developers’ community, helping us realise Abu Dhabi’s investment opportunities.

“Our strong reputation is built on enhanced client partnerships and a relentless dedication to our core values: entrepreneurship, integrity, accountability, innovation, performance, and excellence,” says Haidar.

Mounir Haidar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of LEAD Real Estate Developer
Mounir Haidar, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of LEAD Real Estate Developer

He emphasises LEAD’s role as not merely a developer but an enabler of dreams, revealing that the company provides comprehensive support to a diverse clientele. This support extends from mixed-use and housing projects to hotels and office spaces, and the company distinguishes itself through a fusion of global expertise and local know-how to realise landowner and homeowners’ ambitions and dreams.

“As a fully integrated developer, we offer unparalleled insights throughout the commercial development process, from initial conception to management services, sustainability, design, construction, and eventual commercial returns, thus ensuring the creation of unique and well-balanced master planned communities whereby landowners and investors realise financial returns and unique community living,” Haidar elaborates.

LEAD’s commitment to excellence is evident in its project portfolio, especially in developments like Hidd Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi — an extensive 1.55 million m2 space with 464 premium villas in a verdant, secure community. Another prime example is Sofitel Dubai Downtown, a mixed-use development with a GFA of 174,000m2 adjacent to Dubai Mall Metro Station. “Projects such as these epitomise our commitment to superior living spaces,” Haidar confirms, signifying that for LEAD, luxury is not just an add-on; it’s an inherent promise.

Jubail Island

Building on its history of remarkable developments, LEAD embarked on another ambitious project in 2019: Jubail Island. With an initial valuation of $1.36 billion (AED5 billion), this master-planned community, located between Yas Island and Saadiyat Island, is setting new standards in the market. Jubail Island spans 4,000 hectares, surrounded by precious mangrove trees, with an opportunity to develop 1,600 hectares. The project is distinguished by its low-density planning and offers a variety of serviced plots, upscale residences, and mid-range properties, catering to the needs of homeowners looking for a unique lifestyle surrounded by 2,600 hectares of pristine and beautiful mangrove forests.

In 2023, Jubail Island has outperformed its initial conceptual phase, now standing as a solid testament to LEAD’s relentless commitment and pursuit of distinction. The project, owned by Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC) and developed by LEAD, is at the forefront of reimagining Abu Dhabi’s real estate landscape.

With a valuation of $4.08 billion (AED15 billion), phase 1 of the development spans more than 500 hectares and extends over 30km of pristine waterfront. An idyllic collection of villages designed to appeal to wellness and nature enthusiasts, the development is a sanctuary positioned amid the rich biodiversity of the mangroves and set to become Abu Dhabi’s leading haven for tranquillity and natural beauty.

“Jubail Island perfectly brings together a rich, natural setting with the excitement and fun of a modern city,” says Haidar, revealing that the placement of low-rise and low-impact village-type development within a location keeps the development in harmony with nature.

“2023 represents a landmark year for us,” he adds. “We’ve hit several major milestones. The foundational infrastructure is fully operational, utilities are seamlessly integrated, and Marsa Al Jubail — our marina endeavour situated in Marfaa Al Jubail village — is already 90% operational and advancing on schedule.”

Moreover, contracts valued at approximately $2 billion (AED7.34 billion) have been awarded for Jubail Island. In an achievement for LEAD, a notable milestone was marked when the developer presented the first title deed in March 2023, underscoring the project’s progression from visionary planning to tangible reality.

Complementing the island’s natural environment, the development is architecturally orchestrated into six villages — Marfaa Al Jubail, Nad Al Dhabi, Seef Al Jubail, Ain Al Maha, Souk Al Jubail, and Bada Al Jubail. Property offerings on Jubail Island are diverse, with plots varying from 1,500 to 20,000m2 and villas from 300 to 1,200m2, catering to a broad spectrum of investors and residents.

Furthermore, the developer will soon launch uniquely designed mansions on Jubail Island.

Reflecting on the milestones, Haidar recounts the pivotal milestones and strategic decisions that have shaped Jubail Island’s development over the last two years. “If we look back, one of the most significant milestones was completing the island’s main bridge in May 2022 — a critical infrastructure project — which ensured improved accessibility and a sense of interconnectedness with the Jubail Island community.
“Subsequently, Jubail Island introduced Jubail Marina. Around the same time, the development announced the beginning of work on the Souk Al Jubail community. In January 2023, Jubail Island introduced a new destination called The Town Centre.”

According to Haidar, The Town Centre is a confluence point for the island’s six villages, weaving a tapestry of commerce, leisure, and culture. “Envision a place where business meets pleasure, where island residents find everything at their fingertips. That’s the essence of The Town Centre,” he elaborates, underscoring the project’s blend of practicality with lifestyle enhancement.

Haidar also reports tangible progress across various project zones. “We’re seeing robust advancement, particularly in Nad Al Dhabi, Marfaa Al Jubail, and Seef Al Jubail, with current completion rates spanning from 60% to a promising 90%,” he notes. The pace underscores LEAD’s commitment to maintaining momentum, with a keen eye on the benchmark: approaching delivery of the development by the end of 2023.

Did you know?

Jubail Island pledged to plant one million mangrove trees on the island, contributing to the UAE’s objective of planting 100 million mangroves by 2030 while also capturing over 1,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Jubail Island extends beyond standard residential offerings, functioning as a comprehensive destination with numerous amenities. These include multiple parks, including the Bounce Park, the Skate Park and eight outdoor play areas for children; multiple paths for cycling and jogging, as well as fitness trails; four community centres; an equestrian club; three community pools; two outdoor gyms and three indoor fitness venues, as well as three MUGA courts, a paddle club, and a kayaking centre.

The project also incorporates a marina, two exclusive yacht clubs, an eco-retreat, a beach club, a Mangrove Park boardwalk and various retail and dining outlets. “Our master plan is strategically developed to accommodate diverse lifestyle requirements, integrating not just homes but also critical facilities like mosques, schools, clinics, and a petrol station,” he adds.

Complementing this, Jubail Island recently enhanced its retail offerings by securing a partnership with Spinneys, solidifying its status as a self-sustaining community.
Additionally, JIIC and Spaces Investment and Real Estate Development have recently signed an agreement with Scotland-based Gordonstoun to open the first school in the region on Jubail Island. This initiative is expected to introduce Gordonstoun’s character education to the area, enhancing both Abu Dhabi’s prominence and Jubail Island’s reputation as a lifestyle destination.

Sustainable horizons

Haidar emphasises that Jubail Island isn’t solely a real estate project; it’s a practical embodiment of sophisticated living. “Jubail Island stands as a definitive locale for luxury, style, and class in Abu Dhabi. Our focus isn’t just on luxury but on establishing lasting communities and integrating natural landscapes with architectural design,” he asserts.

Continuing, he adds, “We are dedicated to conserving and enhancing the island’s natural environment, fostering a strong sense of community, and nurturing cultural appreciation. It’s not just about building structures; it’s about creating a sustainable haven where nature and modern living coexist harmoniously.”

In this vein, Jubail Mangrove Park, established in 2020 under the directive of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, emerges as an innovative convergence of education, nature, and leisure on Abu Dhabi’s Jubail Island. “The park isn’t merely a destination; it’s an experiential journey, inviting visitors to engage with the natural world on an intimate level,” explains Haidar.

Attracting an annual footfall exceeding 200,000, the significance of Jubail Mangrove Park transcends its recreational appeal, underscored by a profound commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental enlightenment. “This initiative is central to our ethos,” he emphasises. A biodiversity hotspot, the park plays host to an array of wildlife from fish, migratory and resident birds to a spectrum of crabs and insects, gastropods, and invertebrates, positioning it as an ecological treasure in Abu Dhabi’s dynamic milieu.

This dedication to sustainability is further recognised through the attainment of a Pearl Rating from Abu Dhabi’s Estidama program, marking a pivotal advancement in their environmental conservation journey. “This accolade isn’t just a certificate on a wall; it’s a testament to our steadfast devotion to sustainable methodologies in both construction and design, establishing a new standard for conscientious development in the area,” says Haidar.

He also adds that Jubail Island’s strategy is comprehensive, emphasising not just environmental sustainability but also social responsibility. “Accountability is key,” he says.

“We use a thorough assessment framework to track important metrics such as employment creation, community involvement, and resident satisfaction. We’re not just building homes but cultivating a dynamic, interconnected community.”

Furthermore, Haidar points out that the development respects and integrates its cultural heritage, “We’re combining modern amenities with traditional elements to maintain the area’s cultural essence. This dedication to preserving cultural values ensures that the island is not just advancing but also retaining its connection to its roots. It’s this balance that gives Jubail Island its unique character, providing residents with an enriched living experience.”

Summing up the project’s ethos, Haidar states, “We’re not just building houses and buildings; we are developing another well-balanced master-planned community that will add to Abu Dhabi’s promising real estate market. Jubail Island represents a dream realised, a community built on a sense of belonging, and a unique spirit that stands the test of time.”

This captures the essence of Jubail Island, defining it as not just a place to live but a community built with intention, respect for its heritage, and a commitment to sustainability and societal growth.