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Site visit: Dubai Trade Centre district

by Neha Bhatia on Oct 24, 2015

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Construction sites that combine futuristic progress and legacy enhancement are rare in most parts of the world, not just in Dubai. Striking a balance between the two is a laudable task. Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has successfully merged both during its ongoing development in the Emirate’s Zabeel area.

Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) is currently flanked on its west by the Dubai Trade Centre District (DTCD) phase one. DTCD’s development was commissioned – and held back – by DWTC in as early as 2010.

Approval for the recommencement of construction and master-planning work was granted by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and chairman of the board of DWTC, during its annual board meeting  in March 2013.

At the time, Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of DWTC, said: “In the late 1970s, the [construction] of Sheikh Rashid Tower [Trade Centre Building] was the catalyst for the development of the Commercial Business District. There is now demand for prime office space in the area, and occupancy rates in business hotels are similarly high, demonstrating a requirement for more supply. This first phase of DTCD will cater to this dual demand.”

Construction work being carried out on site today pertains to the terms of that approval, and Ibis Hotel (H2) – the second Ibis in DWTC’s vicinity – and a commercial tower, called C1, are being built as a part of DTCD.

Amer Alfarsi, projects director for real estate at DWTC, updates Construction Week about project progress, and the rationale behind the project’s development: “As a hub for the MICE [meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions] industry, and as the commercial centre of the Emirate, coupled with [DWTC’s] recently conferred free zone status, there is a demand for prime office space in the area, particularly from multinational corporations looking to consolidate and companies who are outgrowing their existing offices.

“Work is underway on phase one of DTCD, a 136,000-sqm site between DICEC and Emirates Towers. This first phase includes a 588-key Ibis Hotel and a LEED Gold status A-grade office space, which also incorporates retail and F&B outlets,” Alfarsi adds.

Al Futtaim Carillion is the main contractor for the project after it was awarded the deal in March 2014, which was reportedly worth $102.1m (AED375m). According to The National, “[Parent group] Carillion said that the loan, which was arranged by Deutsche Bank, was backed by UK Export Finance.”

The contractor is supported by over 50 sub-contractors on the project (see table). Voltas Limited is the MEP contractor, Reem Emirates is in charge of façade contracting, and vertical transportation for the development is being carried out by Kone Elevators.