Ambitious Dubai mega projects announced

Image source: Flickr.The Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has announced the establishment of a vast new city and has also approved the construction of a US$2.7bn leisure and entertainment development

The development of the Mohammed Bin Rashid City was the first of the ambitious plans to be announced.

The city will be comprised of four key elements, the first of which will include a park that is 30 per cent larger than Hyde Park in London and also feature the largest leisure and entertainment centre in the Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent and region.

This will be set up in collaboration with Universal Studios and include over 100 hotel facilities.

The second component will feature ‘Mall of the World’, the largest shopping mall in the world, while the third component will include the largest area for arts galleries in the MENA region.

The fourth component will focus upon the development of a unique, integrated environment to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.

“The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city,” said UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“Therefore we have to start work immediately on the third phase of development that is aligned to our Vision till 2030 and boost the UAE economy to enable it to enter a new era in which it will become the capital of entrepreneurship, arts, culture, and family tourism for over two billion people.”

He went on to state that accelerated growth rates required Dubai to prepare for the future, citing the fact that within six years the annual number of passengers passing through Dubai airport will exceed 90mn.

“Our development initiatives concerning infrastructure in all sectors should be aligned with this growth rate and we have the determination to reach our objectives and be the first in the region to achieve them,” he said.

The new city will be located between Emirates Road, Al Khail Road and Sheikh Zayed Road, and will include the Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens Project.

A crossing, which will be called the ‘Cultural Crossing’, will connect Downtown Dubai and Business Bay with the city.

The Mall of the World will be able to handle 80mn visitors a year while the connected family entertainment centre is expected to attract six million visitors per annum.

The new city project, which will be implemented by Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties, will also feature residential areas, built to adhere to green building standards, and a number of golf courses.

“This is a project that was launched back in 2008 and has been revised somewhat,” Matt Green, UAE head of research and consultancy at CBRE, told Arabian Business.

“For us, it comes down to the timing and the phasing of this development and getting back to sensible real estate. We are not in a time where you can develop a huge amount of real estate based just on off-plan property.”

Mario Volpi, head of residential sales and leasing at Cluttons real estate agency, was quoted as saying, "This huge and very ambitious project is centred not on residential, as before, but tourism. I believe this is the key to what will be a successful mega development.”

Meanwhile, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has also approved the construction of a $2.7bn (AED10bn) leisure and entertainment centre that will be located in Jebel Ali.

Meraas Holding will develop the project which will feature five theme parks.

The first phase of the development, Dubai Adventure Studios, was actually announced by Meraas in December 2011 and this will now form part of a much larger development.

One component will be called Bollywood Parks, which will feature various rides and attractions, including a large theatre.

Plans also include a water and marine life park, a night safari and a theme park that is aimed specifically at pre-school and primary school children.

Completion of the first component of the development is expected in 2014.

“Meraas has been working with several industry experts to bring together a powerful mix of components that fulfill the need for a pure entertainment-based destination,” said Abdulla Ahmed Mohammed Al Habbai, chairman of Meraas Holding, in a statement.

“We expect the comprehensive offering to set a new benchmark within the leisure and entertainment industry and offer tourists one more reason to visit Dubai.”

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