The local Al-Jaber Group is the frontrunner for a contract to build a new residential development on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island.

The project is being developed by the local Saadiyat Development & Investment Company, which received bids from companies for the contract in March.

Known as Hidd al-Saadiyat, the first phase of the project involves the construction of 280 villas. The second phase of the project is made up of 206 villas. The second phase will start six months after construction of the first phase has started. The project also involves the construction of two single-storey community centres.

The consultants working on the project are Egypt’s Ehaf Consulting Engineers and local office of Naga Architectural Consultants.

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has awarded an estimated AED1bn ($272m) contract to build 295 villas on Saadiyat Island to Al-Jaber in 2009.

Development on Saadiyat Island received a boost in early January when TDIC awarded the main construction contract to build the long-delayed Louvre Abu Dhabi museum on Saadiyat Island to a joint venture of the local Arabtec, Spain’s Constructora San Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi.

The landmark project, which is one of the most high-profile schemes planned for Abu Dhabi, had been tendered three times since it was first launched in 2007 as part of a wide-ranging cultural accord signed by Abu Dhabi and France. It was first tendered in 2009 as a design and build scheme, and then tendered again in 2010 as a traditional construction contract. That tender was cancelled after TDIC shortlisted two contractors in early 2011.