Saadiyat Island

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Scale model of proposed Saadiyat Island development.

Saadiyat Island, Arabic for "Happiness Island," is a large, low-lying island 500 metres (1,600 ft) off the coast of Abu Dhabi island in the UAE, and is currently under development.

A mixed commercial, residential, and leisure project is currently under construction on the island, expected to be completed in 2020. According to government officials, Saadiyat Island is expected to become Abu Dhabi's cultural centre.


Saadiyat Island is being developed by the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), an independent public joint stock company of which Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is the sole shareholder. TDIC’s strategy is to dispose of development land on the island to private investors who will each develop their sites in accordance with the masterplan and supporting planning regulations and design guidelines.[1]

The master plan for Saadiyat island was done by EDAW and continued under AECOM after its purchase of the company.

Development and Labor Conditions[edit]

In May 2009, Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction[2] issued a report accusing the contractors working on Saadiyat Island of violating the rights of workers on the site by charging them fees to obtain their work contracts, paying them less than they were promised, and holding their passports to prevent their resignation or departure.[3] The report also called on western partners (including Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the French Museum Agency, and New York University) to seek contractual assurances that these violations would not continue once construction on facilities for those institutions was underway. The alleged violations of the workers' rights would also constitute violations of United Arab Emirates law.

Proposed districts[edit]

From the official website:[4]

Saadiyat Cultural District[edit]

  • Total area 2.43 km²

The Saadiyat cultural district is under construction, with plans for a £85 million Louvre museum set to open in 2015,[5] as well as a Guggenheim Abu Dhabi by Frank Gehry, the Sheikh Zayed National Museum by Foster + Partners, and a Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid. The cultural district also includes an office park and commercial areas, and residential areas and hotels.

Saadiyat Marina[edit]

  • Total area 3.7 km²
  • Berthing for over 1,000 boats
  • Boutique hotels
  • Luxury apartments
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Maritime Museum by Tadao Ando
  • Commercial and retail environment
  • New York University Abu Dhabi campus

Saadiyat Beach[edit]

  • Total area 4.33 km²
  • International tourist destination
  • 9 Kilometers of natural beaches
  • Five-star hotels and resorts
  • Beach clubs
  • A Gary Player designed Championship golf course with luxury residential

Saadiyat Promenade[edit]

  • Total area 931,000m²
  • Family resort
  • Beach lifestyle
  • Boardwalks with restaurants and cafes
  • Leisure and entertainment

Saadiyat Lagoons[edit]

  • Total area 3.5 km²
  • Low-rise waterfront residences
  • Tidal lagoon system

Saadiyat Retreat[edit]

  • Total area 750,000m²
  • Boutique hotels
  • Residences

Saadiyat Reserves[edit]

  • Total area 4.68 km²
  • Tidal golf course designed by Trent Jones II
  • Low-rise waterside residences

List of primary contractors[edit]

The following are the primary contractors for Saadiyat Island:[citation needed]

  • Al Jaber for Villa.
  • HILALCO for Road and Infrastructures

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Abu Dhabi to Build Gehry-Designed Guggenheim Museum. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. July 8, 2006.
  2. ^
  3. ^ UAE: Exploited Workers Building ‘Island of Happiness’.
  4. ^ Saadiyat Island, UAE.
  5. ^ "Saadiyat -Louvre Abu Dhabi". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 24°32′09″N 54°26′33″E / 24.535781°N 54.442417°E / 24.535781; 54.442417