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Exclusive: Majed Odeh explains how the man-made hill on Reem Island will be created

Abu Dhabi is a city without gradient, built where the desert meets the sea. But the flat landscape is set to soon change — at least on Reem Island.

The recently announced Reem Hills development, an Dh8 billion ($2.1bn) gated community covering an area of 1.8 million square metres, is to be built upon a man-made hill — a first for the UAE capital.

The project will emerge as “the most outstanding development of its kind”, said Majed Odeh, chief executive of Q Holding, whose subsidiary Q Properties is developing the project.

The man-made hill will be formed using “natural local materials which are compacted in layers to create stability and permanence”, Mr Odeh told The National.

“The hill will feature an aesthetically designed gentle slope from ground-level to peak,” he said.

“This will enable us to achieve a firm gradient [that] will retain its shape naturally as it leads up to the building plots without any need to incorporate structural elements, which could affect the scenic perspective from the properties, while supporting the construction of roads and ancillary public services.”

The idea is that the higher elevation will offer 360-degree views including over the sea — a perk usually reserved for high-rise apartment blocks.

“Reem Hills is a truly unique project as it is being designed to take into account the fragile balance in the region’s ecology and environment, and mitigate the known issues raised by adopting a commitment to sustainability,” Mr Odeh said.

“All this is being achieved while allowing residents to indulge their senses in a luxurious environment, which not only provides an escape from the pressures of today’s fast-paced life, but also incorporates authentic sustainable living solutions that will help shape the growth of Abu Dhabi.”

An overview of Reem Hills on Reem Island. Courtesy Q Holding

Reem Island is a popular location for property hunters, with cheaper units spread across dozens of towers. Public beaches and parks have been introduced in recent years while Reem Mall is expected to open soon to complement the already existing Boutik Mall.

Aside from a cluster of 42 villas in a development called Nalaya Villas, which opened in 2016, the island is home to only apartments and a few townhouses.

“While previous developments have led with apartment blocks, we see Reem Hills as a major breakaway from such a narrow concept — no other community has such a diversified mix of architecture and design, and our initial phase consists of independent villas, semi-detached or twin villas, as well as townhouses,” said Mr Odeh. “A full range of apartments are planned for one of the later phases.”

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