Dubai’s outskirt communities on the rise
Escape to a quieter, cheaper life with these four up-and-coming districts
Published: 08:00 February 12, 2017 Gulf News
Paul Crompton, Staff Reporter
International Media Production Zone
OVERVIEW: Taxi drivers and many other residents haven’t heard of International Media Production Zone, commonly referred to as IMPZ. The up-and-coming area, close to Jebel Ali, is located at the tip where Al Khail Road (E44) joins Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E311). Sports City, Jumeirah Village Triangle and Jumeirah Village Circle and Jumeirah Golf Estates are neighbouring communities.
The most prominent towers, built by Damac, have studios, one-bed and two-bed units. Each of the ten towers varies slightly in height, and is an average of 18 stories tall. The Centrium towers nearby, built by ETA Star, offer three-bed apartments but no studios. Rents are similar in both buildings. All contain ground-floor grocery shops, while some also have beauty salons, barbershops, and cafeterias.
For people who prefer lower-rise options, the three Qasr Sabah buildings, which are each six storeys, offer studios and one-bedroom units at similar prices. Built by the RSG Group, a local conglomerate, the three blocks are in a quieter area of IMPZ.
Although there’s a slight downside: there are not yet any grocery shops there, prompting many residents to walk around 800 metres to Me’aisum City Centre.
What residents say
“IMPZ is an affordable community,” said Najam Uddin, an agent with Green House Real Estate, a broker that covers the area. “It has good connectivity for job locations.”
The area is also noteworthy for the ethnic mix of its residents. Unlike some areas of Dubai, IMPZ is not dominated by one nationality. “You can see many Arabs, Europeans and Indians,” Uddin said.
LOCATION AND ENTRY AND EXIT POINTS: IMPZ can be handily accessed from both sides of 311, and Al Khail Road. Access through Sports City from Victory Heights is controlled by Security.
TRAFFIC PROFILE: Beware of: Weekday traffic that builds up around 5.30pm by the Al Khail bridge, the main point of entry. This can cause wait times of around 10-20 minutes. Avoid trying to drive to the Al Khail entry from Al Khamila Road, due to long tailbacks on the slip road.
IMPZ is served by Me’asium City Centre, a popular shopping mall with a large Carrefour hypermarket and shops, cafes and restaurants. The mall is easily within walking distance between both the Centrium and Damac towers. There are also fairly lengthy padded jogging tracks. The tracks are lit at night.
There are currently no schools in IMPZ. But Dubai British School, GEMS International School, Wellington International School, Emirates International School Meadows, and Regent International School are all within a 15-minute drive away.
Apart from a small clinic at the Me’asium City Centre, there are also no hospitals in IMPZ. The Saudi German Hospital on Hessa Street is 15 minutes away by car.
PARKING ISSUES: In days gone by, many residents would park on the sand to avoid parking costs at the buildings. But for the past year, poles have been put around many of the sandy areas — except outside Centrium. Some tenants have a parking space at the lower floors in their building, while others will have to pay extra. The monthly rent of a parking space inside the building ranges from around Dh400-500.
TRANSPORT: IMPZ’s distance from the city’s main areas means that most residents own cars. There is one bus route, the F29, which runs regularly from IMPZ to Mall of the Emirates. It takes about 35 minutes. An Enoc petrol station on the E311 can be handily accessed by driving through IMPZ’s back roads.
Studio: Dh30,000 to Dh45,000
1 bedroom: Dh50,000 to Dh55,000
2 bedroom: Dh65,000 to Dh80,000
3 bedroom: Dh90,000 to Dh110,000
(Figures are according to Rera rental index)
BEWARE: With tower names like Lakeside and Lago Vista, prospective residents might expect at least a pond-sized body of water. But many residents have given up hope of ever seeing water fill the massive concrete-lined spaces across the road from Damac’s tower.
OVERVIEW: Have a small family, need space and don’t mind driving? Then Remraam, located near the Dubai Bypass Road (E611) could be worth a look. Made up of 56 towers, which range from four to six storeys, families enjoy the plentiful green spaces, well-equipped playgrounds and low rents.
For example, a two-bed, 1,000 square foot apartment in an older tower goes for around Dh75,000 per year. Remraam is built by Dubai Properties, best known for constructing Jumeirah Beach Residences and Shurooq and Ghoroob in Mirdif.
Remraam is made of up for two clusters: Al Thamam and Al Ramth. The Al Thamam cluster, Remraam’s oldest towers, received the worst of the flooding that took place from rain in March this year. Tenants of the newer Al Ramth cluster claim that their units have higher quality and fewer maintenance issues.
Due to Al Ramth’s closeness to Emirates Road, formerly known as Bypass Road, some residents claim that there is road noise — but the problem can be easily fixed by closing the windows.
“Mostly Europeans are living here. You will feel like you are living in Europe,” said Mohammad Kashif Abdul Rahman, a broker at THE Real Estate who manages several properties there.
For buyers who looking for a future return, the broker believes that future returns could be high due to the up-and-coming location. “It’s near the Expo 2020 site and Maktoum Airport,” he added.
TRAFFIC: Outside of rush hour timings, a drive from Remraam to Mall of the Emirates will take around 20 minutes. During peak hours, residents claim there is a small amount of traffic leaving the community, which is expected to grow as the surrounding area builds up.
FACILITIES: Remraam is served by a Geant and Choithram supermarket, and several groceries and cafeterias nearby. For more variety, residents may prefer to go to either Mall of the Emirates, Spinney’s in Motor City, or Me’iasum City Centre at IMPZ, all more than a 10-minute drive away.
The school follows the British curriculum, and teaches from foundation to secondary.
The nearest clinics, Mediclinic Arabian Ranches and Aster Clinic, are both at least 15 minutes away by car.
TRANSPORT: Remraam is not yet well-served by public transport. Most residents will find they need a car. This year, the opening of an extension to Hessa Street (D61) running all the way through Sports City made access to Remraam far easier and quicker.
“Before it was a little bit difficult to get out of Remraam, but now, with the extension from Sports City, it is amazing,” said Abdul Rahman, the broker.
Motorists should note that Remraam is not near any petrol stations. The easiest petrol station to visit is the Enoc on Emirates Road towards Sharjah, a 12 kilometre drive away.
PARKING: Each apartment comes with one shaded parking space under the buildings. But of course, that’s often not enough. People with extra cars have to park illegally around the community.
Studio: Dh40,000 to Dh45,000
1 bedroom: Dh45,000 to Dh60,000
2 bedroom: Dh75,000 to Dh85,000
3 bedroom: Dh95,000 to Dh115,000
NOTE: As well as the risk of floods, Remraam’s residents claim their own fair share of quality issues — particularly in the older Al Thamam cluster.
Some residents told Gulf News last year that there were plagued by water leaks, faulty air-conditioning units, and doors and windows that did not close properly.
OVERVIEW: Technically, Al Ghadeer sits just inside Abu Dhabi’s desert border with Dubai, making this up-and-coming community the ‘wild card’ on this list. Al Ghadeer holds unrivalled, traffic-free access to Dubai’s three main thoroughfares: Shaikh Zayed Road (E11), Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E311), and Emirates Road (E611).
Built by Aldar, a large Abu Dhabi developer, the community is made up of low-rise apartment blocks and villas. It is landscaped with a mix of grass and desert plants.
But even so, Al Ghadeer is not for those who like short commutes. Although Maktoum Airport is less than 20 minutes away, everything else can take far longer.
A drive to Mall of the Emirates, for example, will take 40 minutes. Meanwhile, driving anywhere within the Abu Dhabi city limits will take the best part of an hour.
But what Al Ghadeer does offer is unbeatable value. Decent quality studios with a garden view can be rented for less than Dh40,000 a year. An attached townhouse with two bedrooms can be found for less than Dh80,000.
The community’s bargain rental prices are its best selling point, says Manal Al Khder, an agent at Golden Rose Property.
“The prices here are cheaper than both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”
Nationality-wise, Ghadeer has a fairly wide mix of residents — but the agent has noticed that many British expats have flocked there. Most residents work in Dubai.
LOCATION: For motorists, Al Ghadeer has a trick up its sleeve — it is right next to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Street, which opened at the end of November. An extension of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, the 62km-long, eight-lane stretch of highway is the second thoroughfare connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Two petrol stations are also expected to open on the road by the end of 2017.
TRAFFIC PROFILE: Quite simply, there isn’t much traffic worth mentioning — unless one of the enormous trucks that speed along the Seih Shuaib highway meets with an accident.
FACILITIES: Each Al Ghadeer apartment block is equipped with a gym, and there are plenty of swimming pools. There’s also a park with a pond and ducks. But those hoping to make major purchases are going to be sorely disappointed. There is a supermarket, Baqala, that residents use, and a coffee shop.
Most residents will probably opt to drive to the large Ibn Battuta shopping mall, around a half-hour drive away. There’s also a supermarket popular with expats, Park N Shop, in Dubai Investments Park, that takes about the same amount of time. Or, the newly-opened Outlet Village mall next to Dubai Parks and Resorts, 20 minutes by car, is another option.
There is currently no pharmacy in the community, and the nearest clinic, the Medhealth Medical Centre in JAFZA, is around 25 minutes away.
The nearest schools are in Dubai Investments Park, around a half-hour away. To get a take-away, residents commonly order food from afar — although not all outlets deliver.
TRANSPORT: A car or company transport is required.
While the closest bus station, at Dubai Industrial City, is only a few minutes away by taxi, the community’s distance is likely to make any journey on public transport either very expensive or time-consuming. Hailing a taxi is also difficult.
PARKING ISSUES: Al Ghadeer residents enjoy plentiful parking in the basement of every building.
Studio: Dh37,000 to Dh45,000
One bedroom: Dh50,000 to Dh60,000
Two bedroom: Dh68,000 to Dh75,000
Three bedroom: (Villa) Dh130,000 to Dh145,000
NOTE: In developer-speak, the community has not reached ‘critical mass’ — the point when shops, schools and other amenities start to pour in.
Dubai Investments Park:
OVERVIEW: Dubai Investments Park (DIP) is a big, sprawling community located off Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E311), near the Jebel Ali industrial and port area.
There are two main residential areas in DIP: Green Community, and Dunes Village.
Green Community was developed by Union Properties the same firm behind Motor City and Uptown Mirdif. Apartment blocks in Dunes Village are built by different developers. All of the major communities are gated, including Ritaj Residences and the colourful Arabesque-looking Ewan Residences, both in Dunes Village.
Elsewhere, most of the district is made up of workers’ accommodation and warehouses.
Green Community fetches far higher rents. True to its name, residents get to enjoy the welcome sight of trees, bushes and grassland before venturing off to work alongside dusty arterial roads.
Abid Ali, a Pakistani resident who runs a business out of DIP, has lived in the Green Community for close to a decade.
“It’s like heaven,” he says. “Any time I need to go home for lunch, it takes me just four minutes. It’s just around the corner.”
DIP’s facilities make the community almost self-contained, Ali added.
“For weeks and months, I don’t even need to go out of DIP, because I have everything available here. I rate it among the top few places to live in Dubai.”
TRAFFIC PROFILE AND PEAK TIMINGS: Since the nearby Al Houdh Interchange on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (E311) opened in November, DIP residents breathed a sigh of relief. Inside DIP, there are a fair amount of heavy vehicles leading to the warehouse districts, but the traffic generally flows smoothly, even during rush hour.
Fitness fans can take advantage of the Green Community’s Fitness First. An artificial lake in the centre of the community is flanked by cafes and restaurants. There are also two hotels and a block of hotel apartments.
The Green Community is served by three main supermarkets – Choitrams, Carrefour and a Park N’ Shop and there’s an NMC Hospital. Meanwhile, the Dunes Village area has fewer facilities – but the Green Community’s facilities are only a few minutes away.
DIP is served by three schools – the Nibras International School, the Greenfield Community School and a branch of Choueifat.
PARKING: Most buildings come with on-site parking that includes at least one space. Residents do not report any major issues.
TRANSPORT: While far from any metro line, DIP is served by multiple RTA buses. A trip to Mall of the Emirates, for example, will take around one hour.
RENTS: Please note: Dubai’s real estate regulatory authority (Rera), where these figures are drawn from, calculates different data for areas across DIP. The figures below are for DIP as a whole. Prices in the Green Community, for example, can be anywhere from 10 to 40 per cent higher.
Studio: Dh25,000 to 35,000
One bedroom: Dh40,000 to Dh50,000
Two bedroom: Dh60,000 to Dh75,000
Three bedroom: Dh85,000 to Dh105,000
NOTE: There’s no shortage of construction going on at DIP, although it does not seem to be too intrusive. Bollywood fans can boast that their neighbourhood is the home of an upcoming Dh2.3-billion cluster of villas and apartments endorsed by none other than Shah Rukh Khan.