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Design group bringing the Italian life to Abu Dhabi

Rome may not have been built in a day, but a group of Italian architects and property services companies is hoping that they can build an entire Italian style city in the UAE.

Sirei, a group of Italian architects, builders and furniture designers that aims to expand Italian real estate styles all over the world, has unveiled its concept for Renaissance City – designed to house 40,000 people.

The project, which would cost US$30 billion to build, including land costs, comprises 290 hectares of homes, shops and offices that could be built anywhere in the UAE, the companies said yesterday at a meeting chaired by the Italian ambassador Giorgio Starace.

The new city would include 150 hectares of golf courses and villas, a 70 hectare business district, a 120,000 square metre shopping centre, a 10,000 sq metre main mosque, a 50 hectare Italian garden and botanic desert park, 160,000 sq metres of hotels, a 45,000 sq metre performing arts centre and a 30,000 sq metre museum.

The group unveiled computer-generated images of vast glass covered shopping malls and tree-lined streets, which it hopes to build.

The Sirei president Massimo Mazzi told a meeting at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce that the architects were holding discussions with the US investor Pramerica about funding the project and were speaking to property developers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the hope of finding suitable land to build the new city.

Sirei said that the concept had been designed so that it could be squeezed into a smaller land plot if necessary or elongated or expanded to fit a larger plot.

When asked how his project would compete with the plethora of planned new cities in gestation across the UAE, such as Dubai’s massive Mohammed Bin Rashid City in Dubailand and Masdar City, Mr Mazzi said that Renaissance City would bring Italian lifestyle to the UAE.

“This is based on a very important concept – the concept that Italian people from the past to the future are able to build something characterised by style, elegance and creativity and all over the world they appreciate our excellences,” Mr Mazzi said. “In our opinion it’s better to build our concept here in the Emirates because it can act as a bridge between our two countries – Milan is hosting Expo 2015 and Dubai is hosting Expo 2020.

“We like to export the Italian way of life, the Italian concept. All the city will be focused on Italian excellences – we are speaking about art, culture, food, fashion – everything inside the city. So the idea is to start from the concept and then see where this concept can be applied.”

He added that Sirei had spent more than €200,000 (Dh1 million) designing the concept.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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