By Shane McGinley

Sharjah plans to rival Dubai’s Burj Khalifa development with the launch of a waterfront project set to spearhead a real estate ‘renaissance’ in the emirate, Cluttons said in a report Sunday.

Sharjah claims to attract up to 1.5 million tourists a year
Sharjah claims to attract up to 1.5 million tourists a year

The emirate’s investment authority, Shurooq, is transforming Al Majaz Park on the Al Buhaira Corniche into a social hub, featuring a fountain centerpiece and rows of hotels and restaurants.

The development is due for completion by the year-end, the real estate consultancy said.

“[It will] compete with that of the Burj Khalifa and Belagio in Las Vegas,” analysts said.

“[The development] will help lead the way for the continued regeneration of the Corniche and Sharjah as a whole,” said Will Neill, associate director for Cluttons UAE.

Data from Shurooq claims the emirate has the second-highest population growth among the seven UAE members and attracts up to 1.5 million tourists a year, a figure it claims is set to grow at an annual rate of 10-15 percent.

Other under-construction projects include the extension of Sahara Mall, which will double retail space at the shopping centre, and the heritage Heart of Sharjah project.

The project will include a souk, a 50-bedroom boutique hotel, museums and art galleries.

“The driving factor behind such rejuvenation is the Sharjah government,” Cluttons said.

Sharjah said in May it would create 150 public sector jobs for UAE nationals in a bid to bolster employment rates in the emirate.

The UAE pledged in March to ramp up infrastructure investment in the less developed northern emirates and create more jobs for nationals. The world’s third largest crude exporter said it would spend $1.6bn on overhauling utility networks.