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Site visit: One Central, Dubai

by Neha Bhatia on Sep 16, 2017

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As the home of multiple billion-dollar construction sites, Dubai is not unfamiliar with the demands of high-profile development programmes. One such project currently taking shape in the city is One Central, a mixed-use master-development by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), valued at $2.2bn (AED8bn).

By all means, the story of One Central’s inception is a compelling one – more so when viewed within the context of Dubai’s rapid evolution since the late 1970s, only years after the UAE’s formation. 

Almost three decades later, more than 1.3ha of exhibition space – in the form of Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) – now sprawls DWTC’s complex in Dubai’s elite Za’abeel neighbourhood, where One Central is expected to be an addition that is both poignant and profitable.

Poignant, because One Central’s planned components would herald the next chapter of growth for Za’abeel, which propelled Dubai onto the global commercial landscape in 1979, when the 39-storey Sheikh Rashid Tower was launched in the locality. Profitable, because – as its makers explain – the billion-dollar One Central community will fulfill key real estate needs in and around its neighbourhood. 

“One Central enhances the destination through the introduction of mixed-use assets, such as hotels, offices, residential, and retail developments,” Rami Alaileh, project director for real estate development at DWTC, tells Construction Week. 

At a time when zoning laws have rewritten the rules of mixed-use architecture around the world, One Central’s master-plan draws on the reliable models of multi-purpose real estate to create an integrated and holistic community. The development’s commercial component comprises five buildings, each of which will feature a drop-off area, four levels of underground parking, integrated retail offerings on the ground level, open-plan office spaces, and access to rooftop gardens. The Offices 1 building offers spaces spanning 290m2 to 1,920m2 per floor, with a gross internal area of approximately 18,000m2 as commercial space, and 2,000m2 for retail use. 

Meanwhile, the 12-storey Offices 2 building offers entire floors ranging from 1,290m2 to 4,640m2, which can be leased as whole floors or smaller units, with a total building size of approximately 4.1ha (41,270m2). 

One Central is already reaping rewards for DWTC. Alaileh says Offices 1 has achieved full occupancy, and the 588-key Ibis Hotel, also developed as part of the project’s first phase, has performed well since its launch in early 2016: “The subsequent phases are currently under construction, with the Offices 2 building to be completed at the end of October 2017.”

Work on Phase 1 of One Central, including Offices 1 and the Ibis hotel, began in 2014, with the first phase delivered on time in the first quarter of 2016. 

Anil Kumar, project director at Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC), says the contractor, which worked on the first phase of the project, was awarded the package for Phase 2 – which includes Offices 2 and Offices 4 – in Q1 2016. 

Contractual milestones for both buildings are being achieved as planned, and the team has also received the building completion certificate (BCC) for Offices 3. 

“Work on Offices 2 is 95% complete, and we will complete it as scheduled,” Kumar tells Construction Week.