With construction now complete, the new Kalba Waterfront – the largest master-planned retail development and first inclusive waterfront destination in Sharjah – is looking to welcome its first guests shortly.
“Construction-wise, 100 per cent of the Kalba Waterfront project is now complete and we are eagerly waiting to receive our guests by the end of the year. Some of the retail units are now in the process of giving the finishing touches to their interiors,” Eyad Farid Saffarini, Senior Project Manager of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), tells Gulf Construction.
Developed by Eagle Hills Sharjah Development, a joint venture between Shurooq and Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based private real estate investment and development company, the project aims to redefine the leisure and travel landscape of Sharjah and the region and cater to the ever-growing demand for integrated tourism and leisure experiences on the East Coast.
The prestigious project holds the distinction of being the first integrated family community destination that offers both indoor and outdoor experiences for visitors in the emirate. The new mall will offer a compelling waterfront shopping experience with expansive views of a pristine eco reserve and will introduce several new family concepts in both dining and retail, according to Saffarini.
Multi-award winner Jordanian architect Wael Al-Masri – who had previously led other projects under Shurooq’s portfolio including Phase Two of Al Majaz Waterfront and Mysk Al Badayer Retreat – is the architect behind the Kalba Waterfront project. Laceco, which is specialised in creating landmark architectural projects, is the lead consultant in charge of the development of the design into a fully functional project.
East Coast Contracting was tasked with all substructure works while Engineering Contracting Company oversaw all the superstructure and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works, Saffarini states.
Centrally located on a 183,000-sq-m area in the Kalba Eco-Tourism Project, close to the Al Qurm Nature Reserve, Kalba Waterfront boasts a magnificent view of a serene lagoon lined by mangroves and is set in one of the most beautiful and tranquil areas in the country. The total length of the mall is 500 m, and with its unique location at the edge of the spectacular lagoon, shoppers and visitors will be surrounded by stunning natural views at all times, he adds.
The development features 80 units comprising a variety of indoor and outdoor dining outlets, as well as an expansive promenade that lines the lagoon. It also includes a 1,600-sq-m play zone that features a trampoline, skating tracks, and free-fall platform. In addition, extreme adventure enthusiasts can test their skills at rope walking, wall climbing, simulators, video games, and much more.
Natural light and its interplay are part of a unique design concept that further enriches the experience for all visitors.
“With thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces, the expansive promenade that lines the lagoon is an ideal spot for nature lovers to enjoy a scenic stroll. The mall’s unique location at the edge of the stunning lagoon also offers diners an incredible view,” Saffarini remarks.
Elaborating on some of the early works on the project, he says: “We conducted initial ground investigations on the project site and undertook ground improvement solutions to strengthen its bearing capacity. The initial study also took the sustainability factor into account, given the project’s location overlooking a lagoon surrounded by mangrove trees at the edge of a conservation reserve.
“Time, cost and environmental impact guided our decisions, every step of the way. A raft foundation now extends over the entire footprint of the building and has been used to reduce stress on the soil. The slabs used for this purpose have a hollow core. Through the use of mechanical compaction, a soil stabilisation exercise was undertaken to refine and improve the engineering properties of soil. This has further improved its strength and bearing capacity.”
All construction undertaken for the project were in accordance with Sharjah’s environmental regulations. This includes the soil stabilisation process which also carried out in adherence to these regulations to ensure the protection of the natural ecosystem.
Set in the heart of the Kalba Eco-Tourism Project, Kalba Waterfront’s unique location next to a protected conservation area recognised by The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar), naturally prioritised conservation practices above all else to protect the surrounding environment.
The Ramsar-protected site supports a vital ecosystem for a number of endangered species, including the Arabian Collared Kingfisher and provides an important fisheries nursery and feeding areas for local and migratory birds.
“Kalba Waterfront, the largest retail and first inclusive waterfront destination in Kalba, is pioneering a new model for malls in Sharjah, and together with other large-scale projects being developed on the East Coast, this family destination will significantly drive the region’s future growth and urban development and lead to the creation of new investment opportunities in diverse sectors,” he concludes.