Arada reveals final masterplan of Aljada's Central Hub, the UAE's newest leisure and entertainment destination

02 October 2018

• Construction already underway at focal point of Sharjah's largest lifestyle destination, with first phase set for completion in Q1 2019
• Spread over 25 football fields, complex will include extreme sports centre, 'edutainment' area, cinema, adventure golf, retail, F&B and much more
• Striking design shows focus on extensive use of water, lush green spaces, walkability and sustainability

Arada has unveiled the final masterplan of the Central Hub, the focal point of its ground-breaking Sharjah mega development, Aljada. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Central Hub is a bold new leisure and entertainment destination for the UAE and also cements Aljada's role as a transformational project for Sharjah.

Over 25 football fields in size (1.9 million square feet) - or slightly larger than London's Green Park - the Central Hub is defined by its lush green space and many water features, and is designed to be fully walkable, even during the summer months. In total, there will be 732,000 square feet of green space in the Central Hub, including a large landscaped community park that covers a quarter of the complex, which will be home to thousands of specially selected trees and plants.

A car-free zone, the Central Hub will include a public square in its centre for large community gatherings, such as New Year's Eve and National Day celebrations, which will include a showpiece water feature as well as dining outlets and cafes built round a stunning waterfront setting. In addition, a circular walkway will allow residents and visitors to Aljada to explore the complex. As well as the many entertainment, leisure and sporting attractions, the Central Hub will also include sizeable retail and food & beverage (F&B) components, bringing many exciting new concepts and brands to the destination.

Work on the first phase of the Central Hub - which will include Arada's state-of-the-art sales centre, an outdoor cinema space, a food truck village, skate park and other family-friendly facilities - has already begun and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Arada is on track to complete the entire complex by 2022.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: "Our plan has always been to build extraordinary, engaging and life-changing communities. That is reflected in the bold final design of the Central Hub, which will soon be a new focal point not just for Aljada, but for the whole of Sharjah and the rest of the UAE as well. We are working on putting together some incredible new partnerships for the Central Hub, and we will be announcing these in the coming months."

As announced earlier this year, the design of the futuristic complex conceptualises the first moment a water droplet strikes the earth's surface, captured in an array of elliptical buildings that are designed to channel prevailing winds into public spaces and courtyards to aid natural cooling during the hot summer months. Arada's dedication to sustainability and smart technology is reflected elsewhere in the Central Hub, with the complex's entire natural ecosystem irrigated by recovered and recycled water. Meanwhile, tensile canopies will sustain a microclimate at ground level for gardens featuring plant species native to the region, while the Central Hub's lighting requirements will be entirely provided by smart solar power.

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, Vice Chairman of Arada, said: "Sustainability is absolutely central to Arada's vision, and that has been reflected in the Central Hub's final design. We are working hard to protect and encourage local native species, as well as making the most of our natural environment. We're also doing this in a way that is cost-efficient and leaves as small an impact on the planet as possible." 

Johannes Schafelner – Project Director, Zaha Hadid Architects, said: "Aljada’s Central Hub stands as an example of how conscious design can work with the environment to create a truly unique and inspirational focus for its community. The Central Hub is a defining project for Sharjah and the UAE, and we are proud to work closely with Arada to bring this development to life.“

The main contract for the first phase of the Central Hub has been awarded to Modern Building Contracting Company (MBCC), which has already mobilised on site, and this part of the destination will be completed by the end of the first quarter of next year. Over 328,000 square feet in size, the first phase of the Central Hub will include:

  • Arada's state-of-the-art experiential Sales Centre, alongside the Aljada Community Centre, which will feature pop-up events, exhibitions, community ceremonies and markets.
  • A food truck village set in lush green surroundings.
  • A children's play area, outdoor activity zone and skate park catering for toddlers through to adults.
  • An outdoor event space to accommodate film screenings, pop-up events and markets.

The second and third phases of the Central Hub are scheduled to be completed in 2020 and 2022, respectively. The extensive facilities and attractions in these two phases include:

  • A waterplay area, 65,000 square feet in size, that will provide entertainment for the whole family.
  • An extreme sports centre, which will include a skatepark and climbing wall, as well as a host of other indoor/outdoor sports activities and a café.
  • A large family-focused 'edutainment' complex, which features a virtual reality zone, a science experience directed at families, a kids' 'driving school' and an entire building set aside as a children's discovery centre.
  • Two retail zones, one of which will be anchored by a 5,000 square metre hypermarket, while the other will feature a food hall, where events such as farmers' markets will be held.
  • An 11-screen cinema, featuring 1,500 seats and luxury VIP experiences.
  • A giant adventure golf course spread over an outdoor and indoor area.
  • A large community park, over 340,000 sq ft in size, featuring hundreds of species of trees and plants as well as a number of outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, and a 'waterplay' area.

The latest announcement at Sharjah's largest mixed-use lifestyle destination follows a series of milestones, including the first infrastructure contract award, to BICC Contracting in September, and the first main residential construction contract award, which was handed to Modern Building Contracting Company LLC in July. Arada has also recently confirmed that Aljada will be one of the UAE's smartest projects, with next-generation technology running right through the city, making residents and visitors lives more efficient and convenient.

In April, Arada also announced the launch of East Village, a 15-building creative community targeting the younger generation, which constitutes Phase 2 of Aljada. Also in April, Arada signed a management agreement with Emaar Hospitality Group to bring three new hotels, The Address Aljada Sharjah, Vida Aljada Sharjah and Rove Aljada to the megaproject. In January, the developer also confirmed that the global engineering giant Jacobs had won a key contract to design the infrastructure for the project.

Launched in September 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Aljada has swiftly become Sharjah's fastest-selling residential community. Delivered in phases starting in 2019, the entire project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Aljada masterplan is carefully designed with walkability and wide green spaces in mind, allowing residents, workers and visitors the ability to live, work, play and be entertained within a fully integrated and sustainable community. Aljada has exceptional connectivity to surrounding areas, and is an all-encompassing district that comprises considerable retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to a wide range of residential and commercial offerings.

Interested buyers may find out more about Aljada at Arada's Cityscape Global stand in Hall 5, Dubai World Trade Centre, between Tuesday 2 October and Thursday 4 October. They may also visit the Arada sales centre located at the Radisson Blu Sharjah in the Badriyah Ballroom from 10:00am to 7:00pm Saturday-Thursday.