Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties will appoint a main contractor for a new AED1.3bn ($350m) residential project by the second half of this year, according to the company’s chief development officer, Talal al-Dhiyibe.

Aldar Properties officially launched what it has called a “mid-market” residential scheme at Reem Island during this year’s Cityscape event in Abu Dhabi.

The Bridges project will comprise six residential buildings made up of 1,272 units. The company is looking to retain three of the buildings and sell the other three, said al-Dhiyibe. He also told MEED that the company is looking to focus on the asset management side of its business moving forward.

US firms Aecom and Perkins+Will are serving as consultants on the scheme, which is set for completion by the first quarter of 2020.

Construction is expected to start by the end of this year. The project will be financed with the company’s existing funds and no new debt will be raised, said al-Dhiyibe.

Earlier this year the company reported net profits of AED2.8bn ($762m) for 2016, compared with $707m in 2015.

The company also said that it would propose an 11 fils per share dividend for 2016, compared with 10 fils in the previous year.

In August last year, Aldar refinanced AED1.8bn of bank loans that were due to mature in 2018. Three local and international banks agreed interest-only loans with five, seven and 10-year tenors.

Aldar’s debt maturity profile now averages four years.

The rating of this loan was recently upgraded to stable from Baa3 to Baa2 by US firm Moody’s, which said “our decision to upgrade Aldar’s ratings reflects its deleveraged balance sheet, improved earnings quality and our view that it will be able to withstand ongoing weakness in the Abu Dhabi real estate market.”

Despite the upgraded rating, Moody’s projects that the Abu Dhabi real estate market could face further declines in 2017 “as a result of reduced government spending and rightsizing in the corporate sector.”