Aiming high

JONNA SIMON checks out various ambitious projects in Dubai
The Palm Deira

PROBABLY the biggest building programme ever enacted in the world is now taking place in the Gulf.

Dubai is leading this surge to move into the 22nd century with eye-boggling developments. Two major construction and real estate developers have dominated the scene with Nakheel building mammoth, man-made islands in the shape of three palm islands and The World, and Emaar adding to its garden cities of The Meadows, The Lakes, The Hills, Arabian Ranches and Jumeirah Islands by starting work on the tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai (Samsung has just been chosen as the builders of this exciting new project).
The real estate boom has been fuelled by the Dubai government’s decision to allow expatriates to buy villas, houses and apartments in the emirates. Already, villas are being completed on the fronds of The Palm Jumeirah and elsewhere, The Palm Jebel Ali is almost completed and ready for the first constructions, while the islands of The World are starting to emerge from the sea. An even better project is the The Palm Deira, shaped more like a pineapple than a palm, which will be nearly three times larger than each of the other two palm projects.
Parallel with the private housing construction is the hotel building programme, trying desperately to meet the relentless demand for accommodation by visitors to Dubai. As well as the new hotels being planned for Festival City and the current coastline, The Palm Jumeirah will host 40 hotels such is the size of the monster islands, which will increase the beaches of Dubai by hundreds of kilometres.
Although it would be wrong to characterise the red-hot Dubai property market as cooling down, it is certainly becoming more competitive. Some property developers are offering motorcars as incentives to purchase apartments, while others are guaranteeing three years’ rental payment for those who want to buy villas or apartments as an investment.
In essence, there are five mind-boggling giant building developments taking place currently in Dubai. The four manmade islands, which have already created a sensation in the global media, and the world’s tallest building. The artificial islands of The Palm Jumeirah and The Palm Jebel Ali have now been completed and the infrastructure construction is under completion as well as the building of villas and hotels are also underway.
A third development, The World, a group of islands in the shape of the world (Mercator style), is under reclamation, as is the mother-of-all-developments, The Palm Deira. The Palm Deira will measure 14 km in length and 8.5 km in width and shaped like another palm tree with fronds with 8000 villas and a crescent of 21 km.
This third Palm island has been implemented due to the incredible demand from expatriates, nationals, GCC citizens and international investors to the first two islands.
When The Palm Deira is completed – already it is above sea level and visible from the air – it will have a trunk with a crown with 41 fronds, covering an area bigger than Paris and Manhattan. It is being built by Nakheel, who states that one billion cubic metres of rock and sand, quarried in the UAE, will be used to build the landmark of the island.
Nakheel stresses that the islands will create a new marina habitat attracting many species of fish and birds and the other Palms have even attracted hitherto unseen schools of tropical fish.
The Palm developers have also introduced another project called Discovery Gardens, which is a new community of spacious, multi-sized apartments overlooking beautifully-manicured lawns. Freehold residences are available close to the beach with easy access to the Discovery Gardens shopping malls.
One of Dubai’s most prestigious buildings is the 38-storey Wind Tower, which comprises duplexes and penthouses with private rooftop gardens and swimming pools, furnished studios on time-sharing basis, office units, retail outlets, spacious food courts, coffee shops and restaurants as well as a sports bar. Part of the Lake Towers development, this new project is equipped with advanced security and information technology systems. (The Wind tower is a Nakheel project.)
Then there’s The International City. It is a complex that will be attractive to international investors, traders and retailers from across the globe. Providing excellent business opportunities, superb tourist attractions and a selection of unique residential offices with varied country themes, this is yet another of Nakheel’s projects coming to fruition.
Other current developments by Nakheel includes The Marina Crown, Dubai’s latest freehold property development which consists of futuristic-designed apartments. The Palladium is an ultra-modern high-rise apartment complex with restaurants, coffee-shops and boutiques. The Belvedere is another apartment complex on free-hold basis.
When it comes to the Burj Dubai, which is being developed by Emaar, there is nothing secret about any of the attractions, except for the height of the building. Emaar has announced that Burj Dubai will be the tallest building in the world, by a long way, but have not given the actual height.
Claimed as the most prestigious real estate in the world, Burj Dubai will be the skyscraper at the centre of Downtown Dubai, which will have The Boulevard with lawns, trees and water features. The Burj Mall will be the largest mall on the earth housing an aquarium, souk and an ice rink as well as a huge area known as The Parks for picnics and boating, The Residences, nine towers changing the skyline of Dubai, and in complete contrast, the Old Town with individual low-rise homes built in Arabic traditional manner, within an area of shops, parlours and coffee shops. In this grand multi-mix of different types of accommodation, there are future homes to suit everyone from the highly prestigious and expensive apartments in Burj Dubai to the one- and two-bedroom apartments in the towers like Burj Views.
As part of the novel experiment, Emaar has announced that units in Una Riverside Residence will be restricted to e-customers only, that is those who have registered online on the website since the onset of a current advertising campaign.
Whatever prospective house or apartment purchasers are looking for – whether to occupy or for investment purposes – the choices in Dubai are incredulous and will continue to astonish buyers.