Arada awards AED367m construction contract to build Nest, a new student housing complex at Aljada

17 February 2021

• Intermass wins contract to build almost 2,000 units spread over 12 buildings
• Construction to begin immediately, with first units scheduled for handover in Q2 2022
• Major safety milestone reached at Sharjah megaproject as onsite teams reach 10 million man-hours without injury

Arada has announced the award of a major contract to build Nest, the UAE’s premier integrated student housing complex, which is based at its Sharjah megaproject Aljada. Just 10 minutes’ walk from one of the Middle East’s fastest-growing education hubs, University City, Nest offers unrivalled facilities and amenities, all set within a smart technology-enabled space that sets a new standard for student housing not just regionally but globally.

The AED367 million contract was won by Intermass Engineering and Contracting Company, a major Sharjah-based contractor with more than 40 years’ experience in the regional construction industry, which has also worked on previous phases at Aljada and at Nasma Residences, Arada’s first project. Work on the 12 five-storey apartment blocks at Nest will begin immediately, and the first units will be handed over in the second quarter of 2022.

The contract award coincides with the news that Arada has just completed 10 million safe man hours without a lost-time injury (LTI) at Aljada, a remarkable achievement given the size of the 24 million square foot jobsite and the number of different contractor teams operating there.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: “The Nest community fits perfectly with Sharjah’s mission to provide a progressive and all-round educational experience for students from the UAE and around the world. This contract award is evidence of our determination to push forward aggressively with construction at Aljada in a safe and secure manner, and I am particularly pleased to see that our project and contractor teams have reached another safety milestone in recent days.

“We have an ambitious programme at this transformational community during the course of 2021 and look forward to delivering an exceptional experience for a new generation of students in Sharjah.”

Spread over a 388,000 square foot area, the Nest masterplan has been carefully designed with internal courtyards and spaces that provide meeting spaces for residents. Each block contains a selection of studios and two-, four-, five- and eight-bed dormitories, alongside laundry rooms, shared TV rooms and study areas. Different parts of the community have been allocated to accommodation for men and women, ensuring comfort and privacy for every tenant.

Nest’s lengthy list of facilities includes an art studio, a music hall, a library, a state-of-the-art running track that surrounds the complex, an amphitheatre and a central dining hall, while tenants will also be provided with access to male- and female-only swimming pools, gyms and study areas. Every Nest unit will be delivered fully furnished and ready to let out. Leasing will be arranged by fully licensed onsite management teams, who will also oversee all facilities management and provide 24-hour security.

The Nest contract award follows a busy period of announcements at Aljada, where the first homes in the AED24 billion lifestyle destination were completed in January. Owners of the three Rehan Apartments buildings in the first residential phase of Aljada will be the first residents to move into a community that will have an eventual population of more than 70,000.

Spread over a 24 million square foot area, Aljada is ideally located on the last large plot of land in the heart of New Sharjah. Aljada contains numerous residential districts, as well as extensive retail, hospitality, entertainment, sporting, educational and healthcare components, all set within a green urban master plan.

Madar at Aljada, a new family entertainment destination designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, was the first part of the megaproject to be completed in February 2020 and has now welcomed more than a million visitors.

Related: Arada awards AED423 million construction contract to build East Village, the second phase of Sharjah megaproject Aljada