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Mega Dubai Developments for 2013

A replica of the Taj Mahal four times larger than the original. An underwater hotel. A 5 sq km complex of homes linked by canals. The world’s biggest mall (again). A crocodile park. If you wanted any proof that Dubai’s economy is back on track following the financial meltdown that shook the world in 2008, one need only look at the list of ambitious new developments announced over the past 12 months. Many of the proposals have had seasoned expats whispering ‘it’s like 2006 all over again’, with a look of both excitement and desperation in their eyes.

There’s no denying that the new developments – sublime, ridiculous, beautiful, thrilling and garish as they each might be – will be a marvel to watch evolve in front of our eyes. But for those who lived through the sky-high property prices of Dubai’s 2006-2008 boom (a time when general inflation alone soared to 10.8 percent by 2008), a sense of anxiety may be somewhat justified. With this recent recovered economic confidence, Dubai has also seen property and rental prices soar – most of the sales and letting firms have reported that property prices in prime areas have soared by as much as 25 percent over the past 12 months, with rental prices rising by up to 15 percent. ‘When 2008 hit, I thought it would take six years to recover,’ says Priyesh Patel, a sales director with real estate firm Aston Pearl. ‘Yet it only took three years.’

So why such a swift bounceback? A key factor in Dubai’s resurgence is confidence. Where investors were panicking a few years ago, the string of recently announced new developments act as a global symbol that Dubai has defiantly recovered its mojo. ‘The announcements have started a belief that the city is back on track after three years of doom and gloom,’ says Mario Volpi, head of sales and leasing at property consultant Cluttons.

Dubai has also seen a recent surge in population, creating fresh demand for a limited supply of property. While some residents chose to hastily pack up and leave when the crisis hit, employers have been steadily recruiting in recent years, with Dubai’s population now having soared to an estimated 2.1 million for the first time. Meanwhile, the political instability in neighbouring countries and the fallout from the Arab Spring has been credited with making Dubai increasingly attractive to investors based in the Gulf. ‘There’s a lot of money coming in from Iran, Syria and Egypt, because [investors are] worried about keeping money in the banks,’ adds Patel.

There is no denying that Dubai is back! Here are the mega developments announced...

Mohammed bin Rashid City

This multi-billion-dollar project will include the world’s biggest mall, a Universal theme park, 100 new hotels and a park that is bigger than London’s Hyde Park. Completion date: Phase one by 2014.

Business Bay Canals

A Dhs1.5 billion extension to the Business Bay Canal project will extend the waterway from Sheikh Zayed Road to the coast, complete with floating hotels. Completion date: 2015.

Dubai Theme Park

The team behind the delayed City of Arabia plans to build a 111,000 sq m theme park featuring the world’s largest roller coaster. Completion date: End 2013.

Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District

In March 2012, plans were unveiled to establish a cultural district in Downtown Dubai, including art hotels and an opera house. Completion date: 2015.

Taj Arabia

Falconcity of Wonders will include replicas of global iconic architecture such as the Eiffel Tower and a replica of the Taj Mahal four times larger than the original. Completion date: 2014.

Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid

Meydan’s new 5 sq km Nad Al Sheba development will feature neighbourhoods linked by 190,000 sq m of canals, as well as Meydan Tower, a huge skyscraper containing nine pools and a rooftop nightclub. Completion date: 2015.

Madinat Jumeirah Expansion

Plans for a Dhs2.5 billion expansion to Madinat Jumeirah were unveiled last November, including a five-star hotel, villas, restaurants, shops and a walking area. Completion date: 2015.

Habtoor Palace

Taking the space once filled by the Metropolitan on Sheikh Zayed Road, this Dhs4.8 billion complex will boast three hotels, a theatre and a sports academy. Completion date: 2015.

Water Discus Hotel

The Water Discus Hotel will be partly submerged under the sea, and will include a lab for ocean environmental research. Completion date: 2014.





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