The Presidential Affairs Ministry has selected Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) for the estimated AED1.8bn ($490m) main construction contract on the presidential palace project in the Ras al-Akhdar area of Abu Dhabi island.

The new palace will cover a total built-up area of about 220,000 square metres between the existing presidential palace and the Emirates Palace Hotel. The current palace is used by the federal government and hosts cabinet meetings and other federal government functions.

CCC was one of three bidders that was invited to start negotiations with the client in late June. The other two were: Oger Abu Dhabi – the local affiliate of Saudi Oger; the joint venture of the local/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton Group, South Africa’s Murray & Roberts Contractors (Middle East) and the local Fibrex Construction Group.

The other firms that submitted prices in April were: Saudi Binladin Group; the local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabi with the local Arabtec Construction and a joint venture of the local/Lebanese Arabian Construction Company (ACC) and the local Alec.

The Abu Dhabi Dutch Foundation has already started on the enabling works package for the new venue.

US-based RW Armstrong is the project manager, while the local Ewan Architectural & Engineering Consultancy is the appointed architect. The engineer is UK-based WSP Group and the cost consultant is Bahrain-based Haj Gulf.

Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council (UPC) is also developing the Capital City district on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city, which includes the Federal Precinct, the new national seat of government for the UAE. Seven major road boulevards, symbolising the seven emirates, will lead into the precinct.

The UPC plans to build the 49-square-kilometre city close to Khalifa City, between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Mohammed bin Zayed City.

The development will include government and commercial office buildings, residential tower blocks and low-density neighbourhoods for UAE nationals.

When complete, about 370,000 people will live in the district, which will serve as a downtown area for the city of Abu Dhabi.