10 Dubai projects to watch out for
These mixed-use developments in Dubai boast several superlatives and are set to transform the city’s skyline,l
Dubai never ceases to amaze you. With several iconic buildings such as the Burj Al Arab, the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa, the city is an epitome of architectural largesse. In the current property development cycle, the city’s promoters have envisaged ambitious projects whose cumulative value runs into hundreds of billions of dirhams.
We have rounded up 10 promising mixed-use projects taking shape in Dubai. These include the Dubai Canal, Mall of the World, Deira Islands, The Dubai Eye and Mohammed Bin Rashid City, to name a few. With Dubai often described as the city of superlatives, these projects don’t disappoint and boast some unique features. These include the world’s largest Ferris Wheel, a park bigger than Hyde Park in London, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s biggest indoor theme park, the world’s largest lagoon, the world’s tallest twin towers,
floating hotels and restaurants lining the Dubai Canal, among others.
Location: Al Wasl Road
Developer: Meraas Holding
Description: It’s a mixed-use development offering residential and retail space. The residential component comprises 21 low-rise buildings of ground plus three to four storeys offering 28 to 32 units per building. In total, the development is expected to offer 600 units with a mix of one-, two and three-bedroom apartments. With regards to the retail space, phase one of the project is already open, offering 13,000 square metres GLA of space. Phase two is expected to see retail addition of 10,000 square metres.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers, senior consultant, research and consultancy, CBRE Middle East – The Avenue which forms phase 1 of the retail is currently operational and is fully occupied while phase 2 (the City Walk) is expected to open in 2016. Although, details are not disclosed by Meraas, a few of the residential blocks under construction have been sold to investors.
Location: Along Safa Park
Development cost: Dh2 billion
Completion date: 2016
Description: The project aims to link the Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf via a canal through Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa Park and Jumeirah 2. Phase one includes a 16-lane flyover on Sheikh Zayed Road under which the canal will flow. Phase two encompasses the construction of six-lane bridges on Al Wasl and Jumeirah Roads above the canal, enabling the passage of yachts. Features 4,500 apartments, 44 townhouses, 19 villas, 65,000 square metres of office space, 37,000 square metre of retail, sports centre, public park, hotels.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers – Originally launched during the last development cycle, the Dubai Canal has been reworked and launched. Works on the project are already under way with RTA road infrastructure works currently in progress to divert Sheikh Zayed Road traffic and allow future phases of the work to complete.
Location: Off Jumeirah coastline
Developer: Meraas Holding
Area: 8.3 million square feet
Description: The project is developed on reclaimed land. It is segregated into seven residential areas with 300 villa plots. Other components include a town centre, pre-school facility, hospitality projects overlooking the waterfront, two open beaches and a two-kilometre promenade. Pearl Jumeirah is a component of the Jumeirah Gardens master development that Meraas unveiled in 2008 and later modified.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers – Land plots were sold to investors on freehold title with a permission to build villas with a height of ground plus one floor. All plots released by the developer have been grabbed by investors. Craig Plumb, head of research at JLL Mena – Adjacent to Le Mer, a major beachfront development under construction and the reason why the older public beaches are closed, the project involves creation of new islands.
Area: 15.3 square kilometres
Construction progress: Nakheel has appointed a marine engineering contractor to deliver the coastline and breakwaters.
Description: Nakheel’s reincarnation of the Palm Deira, the project is made up of four islands. The islands will offer opportunities for mixed-use waterfront development, all masterplanned by Nakheel. They will feature hotels, residential, commercial and retail units. The island will add more than 40 kilometres (including 21 kilometres of beachfront) to Dubai’s existing coastline. The project will also include a 250-key hotel, an amphitheatre with a capacity of 30,000 people and marina facilities. Nakheel will build a 750-room four-star beachfront resort in partnership with RIU Hotels & Resorts, a Spanish hotel operator. Deira Mall and Deira Islands Night Souq are part of the mix. The mall will be surrounded by the 16-tower Deira Islands Towers community, comprising over 2,400 apartments and townhouses.
Location: The Opera District, Downtown Dubai
Developer: Emaar Properties Development cost: Billions of dirhams (not disclosed)
Description: Touted to rival the Sydney Opera House, Dubai Opera is a multi-format venue for opera, theatre, concerts, art exhibitions, film and sports events. It is styled on wooden dhows, the traditional sailing vessels of the Arabian Gulf. Set to commence operations in 2016, Dubai Opera is designed to have three basic formats to support theatre, concerts and a flat floor for events and exhibitions. The Opera District will also house a museum of modern art, two art hotels, design studios and galleries. It features a 66-storey residential tower, Opera Grand, with over 200 two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.
Akoya by Damac
Location: Al Qudra Road
Developer: Damac Properties
Development cost: Over Dh22 billion
Sales price: Villas begin at Dh1.5 million and apartments at Dh730,000
Area: 42 million square feet
Completion date: First residents will move in within the next six months with the full project set for completion by 2019.
Description: A master community being built around an 18-hole Trump International golf course designed by Gil Hanse, it features 2,200 villas and 10 low-rise buildings. A clubhouse will open in the first quarter of 2016. The golf course is scheduled to open in December 2015. Includes The Drive, a retail strip similar to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Akoya Oxygen, an adjacent community by the same developer, will host the Dubai Rainforest.
Mall of the World
Location: Al Sufouh 1
Developer: Dubai Holding
Development cost: Dh25 billion
Total area: 48m square feet
Description: Features the world’s largest mall spanning eight million square feet, 80 hotels and 20 hotel apartments will add 20,000 rooms, seven kilometre retail promenade reminiscent of London’s Oxford Street, wellness district catering to medical tourists and the world’s biggest indoor theme park. The entire development will be covered by a glass dome that will open during winter months. It will also benefit from air-conditioned retail streets.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers – At this stage, there is still scant information available on the wider project. To date, there is no real understanding of when the first phases of the development will be delivered and how the project will be phased.
Mohammed bin Rashid City
Development cost: Dh30 billion
Area: 54 million square feet
Completion date: 2018-’19
Description: Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties joined hands in November 2012 to conceptualise MBR City. It will feature the biggest family entertainment centre in the region (in collaboration with Universal Studios), 100 hotels, a public park 30 per cent bigger than London’s Hyde Park and the largest area for art galleries in the Middle East and North Africa. Meydan and Sobha Group entered into a joint venture to develop District One, which boasts the world’s largest manmade lagoon. The first batch of luxury villas are on schedule for a mid-2016 handover. MBR City District 11 incorporates staffing accommodation for Emirates airline pilots. The Meydan One project will be home to the world’s tallest residential tower – the 161-floor Dubai One.
Dubai Creek Harbour
Location: Ras Al Khor
Developer: Emaar and Dubai Holding
Development cost: Dh3 billion
Description: Will host the world’s tallest twin towers. Project proposed to be three times the size of Downtown. 39,000 apartments, villas, hotels and hotel apartments, marinas and a mall that offers both inside and outside shopping options.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers – Previously known as The Lagoons (initially launched in 2005, placed on hold in 2008 – now being redesigned), this master plan is a city in itself. The first phase, the Dubai Creek Residences has been launched. It is a cluster of six towers.
Location: Off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
Developer: Meraas Holding
Development cost: Dh6 billion
Description: The Bluewaters Island is a reclaimed land located towards the south-western end of Dubai. It will feature retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment zones. It lies in proximity to Dubai Marina, JBR and the Palm Jumeirah. It can be accessible through Sheikh Zayed Road, Sufouh Road and Al Marsa Road. The main attraction is the 210-metre Ferris wheel ‘Dubai Eye’. A footbridge will be constructed to link the Island with the JBR waterfront. The island is anticipated to attract more than three million visitors per annum.
Expert comments: Erik Volkers – Land has been reclaimed and contract on the bridge connecting the island with Sheikh Zayed Road has been awarded and is under construction. As of June 2015, the base of the Ferris Wheel is visible from JBR.
Other notable projects coming up include the Dubai Frame, a structure resembling a huge window frame that will offer visitors a view of New Dubai on one side and old landmarks such as Deira and Karama on the other, in Zabeel Park; the Meydan One project featuring the world’s tallest residential tower; Dubai Parks & Resorts’ three theme parks in Jebel Ali; the Habtoor Palace coming up on the site of the former Metropolitan Hotel which will feature a theatre that can stage Broadway-style shows, etc.
Besides the semi-government real estate companies such as Emaar, Dubai Holding, Meraas and Nakheel, smaller private developers have also hopped onto the property bandwagon in the run-up to Expo 2020 in Dubai. A few significant projects include Town Square by Nshama, a project aimed at the affordable sector, including buyers with income between Dh15,000 to Dh30,000 per month, Danube’s projects Glitz in Dubai Studio City and Dreamz in Al Furjan, and Diamond Developers’ Sustainable City, a low-carbon emission community on Al Qudra Road.
Brand associations also hold allure for developers and investors in Dubai. Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan endorsed The Royal Estates, a gated community in Dubai Investment Park in August 2014. While the actor will be the face of the luxury township, his wife Gauri Khan, an interior designer, will handle the home decor for the 2,000 units.
Meanwhile, luxury property developer Damac Properties has partnered with the Trump Organisation to manage and operate two golf courses designed by Gil Hanse and Tiger Woods in its upcoming communities Akoya by Damac and Akoya Oxygen respectively.
Other iconic projects announced include the Dh500 million Dubai Museum of the Future near Emirates Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, Aladdin City, a cluster of three towers being built across the Dubai Creek, and the Dubai Police Museum which will resemble a policeman’s cap.
These developments are sure to transform the Dubai skyline beyond recognition. Let’s wait and watch.