Fujairah is the only one of UAE's seven emirates whose eponymous capital is located on the east coast of the country and borders the ocean off the Gulf of Oman, instead of the Persian Gulf. The capital is a relatively small city (especially compared with Dubai which has a population of 3 million people). According to various sources, its population ranges from 100,000 to 150,000 people.
Fujairah is home to the Hajar Mountains with their waterfalls and valleys, oases, palm groves, and, of course, sandy beaches. The most famous building in Fujairah is a fort erected in the mid-16th century. The emirate is primarily dependent on fishing and agriculture and is not known for new builds. However, several major properties were commissioned recently or are on the verge of being commissioned.
Perhaps the most ambitious urban development project in Fujairah in recent years is the development of the Mohammed Bin Zayed Residential City district south of the international airport. Completion of the construction was announced in February 2020. According to official data, the project had a budget of AED 1,900,000,000 (USD 520,000,000).
The new 2.2 square kilometre district houses exclusively villas. There are 1,100 detached houses with three, four or five bedrooms. The area is designed for 7,000 citizens of the emirate who will be able to improve their living conditions thanks to relatively low prices. In addition to the houses, the property developers promised the residents about two dozen parks, schools, mosques, shopping centres, polyclinics and a cultural centre. All the necessary infrastructure is in place.
New buildings in the UAE
In August 2022 a beach hotel opened in Fujairah: the 167-room Palace Beach Resort. It is owned by Emaar Hospitality Group, which built Address Beach Resort Fujairah on the shore of the Gulf of Oman a year earlier. While this one is hidden in the mountains in the north of the emirate, the new Palace Beach Resort welcomes guests in the capital city centre.
Photo: Palace Beach Resort
In December 2022 a new runway was commissioned at the aforementioned airport. The runway is 3 kilometres long and 45 metres wide, in other words, optimal parameters for large passenger aircraft, including Boeing 747. The runway was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the ruler of Fujairah. According to the local media, he was also the first pilot to use the runway for its intended purpose.
The inauguration of the new runway is part of the overall upgrade and expansion programme of the airport, which also includes the construction of an air traffic control tower which is more than 50 metres tall. Admittedly, this is half the height of the sail-shaped tower at Abu Dhabi Airport. However, it is more than enough for Fujairah.
At the very end of 2022, Hilton opened a DoubleTree hotel in the new Al Taif Business Centre. Located just five minutes away from the airport, the business centre has been operational for about a year. Al Taif consists of two towers. The 17-storey tower is occupied by offices while the 19-storey tower has 79 one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom flats for rent. A three-level shopping centre connects the two towers which face each other.
Photo: Dubai Properties
According to media reports, the world’s largest oil storage facility with a capacity of 42,000,000 barrels, is currently under construction in Fujairah. The plan is to connect three underground storage caverns holding three different types of crude oil directly to the seaport to facilitate the transportation and shipment of oil. Completion of the storage facility was scheduled for 2022. However, construction was delayed by the pandemic.
In H2 2023 there are plans to launch Fujairah F3, the largest thermal power plant in the UAE, at full capacity. The new combined-cycle gas turbine will be able to power 380,000 households. The F3 project is located between two functioning hydroelectric power plants Fujairah F1 and Fujairah F2 on the northern coast of the capital of the emirate.
In a Nutshell
While the pace of construction in Fujairah is no match to the boom experienced by Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the past 20 years, life is not standing still in the east of the UAE. Hotels, hospitals, and shops open, houses are being built, while the airport and seaport are expanding, which is key to the development of the region. There is also a special economic zone here, which means every opportunity for further growth.
Cover photo: Jpbowen (Wikimedia)