A leisure and entertainment destination, Yas Island has gotten off to a fast start. This 25-sq-kilometer island, 20 km from the Abu Dhabi city center and 20 km east of Saadiyat Island, is on the way to becoming a dynamic and lush recreational setting. It is being developed by Aldar Properties, a real estate development, management and investment company owned by major Abu Dhabi institutions and individual investors. Benoys is the master-plan consultant. Halcrow is the infrastructure consultant, and KBR is the program manager.

The first major component is the Yas Marina Circuit project, owned by Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management. This Formula One racetrack features a 5.8-km race course that hugs the edge of a marina and runs under the curvy Yas Hotel, where guests can watch the race from the lounge. Other elements of the circuit include grandstands and a drag strip. The project was fast-tracked in 30 months, in time to host a Grand Prix event in November 2009. Halcrow was the main consultant, and Cedarco WCT was the general contractor.

The 500-room Yas Hotel is shaped somewhat like a whale; it was designed by Asymptote Architecture.

Another centerpiece of the island will be the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which will be the world’s largest indoor theme park when it is completed. Construction began in 2007. Over a dozen attractions will be sheltered beneath a triangular roof, including the world’s fastest roller coaster traveling up to 240 km per hour. A history-themed ride will screen famous races from the past several decades. The Flying Over Italy Theater will show aerial scenes of Italian cities and rural scenes on a large screen. Bell’Italia will be a 6,300-sq-meter layout containing 1/20th scale replicas of Italian cityscapes and landmarks, including the Colosseum, Venice and the Amalfi Coast, which visitors can walk through.

Adjacent to Ferrari World, the Yas Mall will contain gallerias, piazzas and extensive fountains, spread out below a 88,000-sq-m roof. It will be anchored by a 16,000-sq-m Geant hypermarket, scheduled to open in 2012, and a 32,000-sq-m Ikea, expected to open in 2011.

A water park will contain over 40 rides and attractions spread over 16.4 hectares. Construction started this month, and it is expected to open in 2012. A Warner Bros. Movie World theme park is still in the planning stage.

The island will contain six marinas, with a total of 1,400 berths. Several of the marinas are currently under construction.

When complete, the island will have 110,000 residents and 300,000 daily visitors.

Location: Abu Dhabi

Estimated Cost: $39 billion

Construction Period: 2007-2012

Developers: Aldar Properties

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