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