New Downtown in the making

Khaleej Times
August 8, 2015 | 2015 at 07.26 am
Maydan 7
MBR City, a massive mixed-use project, has all the trappings to become Dubai’s new nerve centre
Dubai’s real estate ambition knows no bounds. Just when you think you’ve seen it all – the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa), the world’s largest man-made island (the Palm Jumeirah), the world’s tallest hotel (JW Marriott Marquis), the world’s largest mall based on shopping area (The Dubai Mall), the world’s highest restaurant (At.mosphere in the Burj Khalifa), to name a few – the city’s planners spring a surprise and announce mammoth projects whose scale and magnitude overwhelm your senses.

As analysts and market observers were talking of an industry slowdown, the Meydan Group has come forward with a project whose scale will put all such speculation to rest.

The 3.67 million square metre Meydan One project, announced in Dubai this week, has all the trappings of a new mega city – a super regional mall, the world’s tallest residential tower, five hotels, a 100-berth marina, yacht club, the world’s tallest dancing fountain, the world’s longest indoor ski slope, a lagoon, beach, water park and a heritage village.

Located between the Meydan racetrack and Al Khail Road, Meydan One is part of the sprawling Mohammad Bin Rashid (MBR) City, Dubai’s most ambitious project till date.

As pieces of the mega MBR City jigsaw puzzle fall into place, we examine whether this gargantuan scheme has the potential to become the new Downtown of Dubai.

In one of the biggest joint ventures in local real estate circles, Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties had joined hands in November 2012 to conceptualise MBR City, touted to feature the biggest family entertainment centre in the region (in collaboration with Universal Studios), the world’s largest mall, 100 hotels, a public park 30 per cent bigger than London’s Hyde Park and the largest area for art galleries in the Middle East and North Africa.

While the Mall of the World has now been moved to a site along Shaikh Zayed Road, scarce details have since emerged of the other proposed plans.

Meanwhile, Meydan and India’s Sobha Group joined hands to develop District 1 – phase one of MBR City. The first batch of luxury villas are on schedule for a mid-2016 handover. District One includes seven kilometres of lagoons, billed as the world’s largest manmade waterbody.

It is also being built as one of the lowest density residential developments in the world, with over 60 per cent of open and green space in the masterplan.

MBR City District 11 incorporates staffing accommodation for Emirates airline pilots, with around 1,500 four-bedroom semi-detached villas built for the purpose of leasing.

UAE developer G&Co is also developing ‘Jade at the Fields’ – a community of 360 townhouses valued at Dh1 billion – in District 11 of MBR City.

Meanwhile, Meydan One will be home to the world’s tallest residential tower. At 711 metres (161 floors), Dubai One is likely to steal the thunder from Burj Khalifa.

The tower will overlook the world’s tallest dancing fountain at 420m and an outdoor plaza that is capable of accommodating 60,000 people. Project promoters are already confident the space can host celebrations of National Day, New Year’s eve, concerts, festivals and fashion shows.

The tower will also feature the world’s highest observation deck (move over At The Top – 148th floor) and highest restaurant on the 161st floor.

The 885 residential apartments and 10 full floor loft penthouses are expected to be priced at the luxury end of the market. Its podium will house the yacht club, which overlooks the marina. The Meydan One Mall will account for the project’s retail component. It will include 652 shops, 18,000 parking spots and gross leasable area of 235,000sqm.

A retractable roof will allow shoppers to enjoy an al fresco environment during the cooler winter months.

A boulevard will cater to lovers of branded luxury shopping.

Snowboarders and skiers, rejoice! Akin to Ski Dubai, the indoor ski slope attached to Meydan One Mall will be 1.2km long with a 180m vertical drop.

The project also has something in store for sports enthusiasts. A 25,000sqm indoor multi-purpose sports facility will offer tennis, football, basketball, volleyball, squash, indoor cricket, mixed martial arts, softball, a baseball batting cage, lacrosse, golf and hockey.

It will also feature a 9km bike trail and the world’s biggest indoor gym at 25,000 sqm.

What is a Dubai project without a hospitality element? Meydan One will be home to five hotels offering a total of 2,050 keys.

These include the 5-star hotel attached to Dubai One tower, a 4-star Canal Hotel (400 keys) and a 5-star Mall Hotel (450 keys), both with ski slope access, and Marina Hotels 1 and 2. Meydan One will also include serviced apartments.

The project will also incorporate a 300m white sand beach and a water park with 40 rides.

Adding a touch of tradition, Meydan One features a heritage village which will highlight the UAE’s cultural and social customs and traditions. The village will include a museum, Bedoiun tents, local cuisine restaurant and souq.

Meydan One will be surrounded by transportation modes, including the Dubai Metro (two stations on the Gold Line), buses, Etihad Rail and Dubai’s Water Canal.

Posted on August 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

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