Champions Tower III
Champions Tower III is one of a series of residential developments
Located in the heart of Dubai Sports City, Champions Tower III is one of a series of residential developments by Memon Investments.
At just 16 storeys and with no extravagant architectural features, it is not your typical luxury Dubai high-rise, but according to the developer, it was specifically designed in such a way for commercial and economic reasons.
“We decided to develop four towers [Champions Towers I, II and III and Frankfurt Sports Tower] partly to give customers more choice,” says Memon director Ahmed Shaikhani.
“If we just did one big tower in one area, customers only have one choice. But when you have four different buildings on four different locations, you have the opportunity to make the design different, to choose different facilities and have varying architectural features and styles. It is also more economically viable because you are not gambling everything on one project.”
He adds how designers were instructed to keep the design as simple as possible to simplify the construction process and save money; extravagance only adding costs and increasing building complexity.
“Our focus is on keeping our projects simple and modern. This is the same for all our projects,” he says.
“It is also reflected in the price. They are more economical from a construction point of view. It is very difficult, and not at all cost-effective, to bring in extravagant designs.”
Asked whether he feels the simple tower is a new trend in Dubai, he maintains that it has always been a trend, and the idea of simple buildings is not something particularly new in the region.
Of course, in many ways the project continues to be like many other residential projects in the city. Aimed at high-end buyers, and designed to provide scenic views (in this case, overlooking the Dubai Cricket Stadium), the tower was planned as far back as 2004-2005, when Dubai was seeing a huge property boom.
Now, following a long and difficult recession, the developer maintains that it is sticking to its original plans to develop and complete the project, and that it has kept prices the same since 2007.
“In 2004 and 2005, when we planned to move to this region, there was high demand for residential and commercial properties; the recession did not arrive until 2008-2009,” says Shaikhani. “So our plans were to develop these properties before and we are sticking to them. The real-estate sector is also our core business.”
Surely the firm must have experienced some problems during the recession? “Yes, of course we had problems; everyone did, including the master developers.
But because we know the real-estate market, which is always booming and then going down, we always choose projects which are fairly secure like, for example, Dubai Sports City.
The residential projects here are not developed simply to add residential or commercial space in Dubai, but because of the sports.” He adds: “This is a purpose-built community, so only 1.8 million square metres is dedicated for residential buildings. The other 2.8 million square metres is meant for other areas, so things like amenities, road networks, canals, sports stadiums, the golf course, etc.”
Nevertheless, even with purpose-built properties, it is a well-known fact that many developers continued to experience problems during the recession, cashflow and payments being among the main challenges.
Speaking about how Memon Investments coped financially during the crisis, Shaikhani says: “Our contractors are good reputable contractors, and they understand that these things happen. Thus they were very flexible with us.
When the recession hit, we sat together and designed a plan for how we would pay them, as well as how construction would continue, in what stages, and how these stages would be devised. We also buy materials in bulk, which helps to save money.”
As for the project itself, upon completion it will include 254 rooms over 15 levels, with a basement dedicated to parking, a ground floor with reception and further parking and a top deck inclusive of swimming pool, ladies and men’s gyms and saunas.
Having begun in 2008, it had an original scheduled completion date of 2010 (20 months after construction), but is now set for completion by the end of June 2012, which the developers are expecting to meet.
As it happens, main contractor Al Sarh Contracting (which is also working on the other three towers) is now progressing well with construction, and has appointed the majority of sub-contractors to assist with the build.
“The substructure and superstructure have been cast up to, and including, levels 15 and the pool deck,” says the project manager (PM). “Skeleton work and block work are now ongoing, and finishing works such as plastering, ceramics, aluminium works and construction of the swimming pool on the top deck have recently started.” As with the other projects, he says, the tower is being built like a normal high-rise, with the structural works having been followed up by the other trades.
Asked about specific construction considerations and processes, the PM says the building needed only a raft (as opposed to a raft and piles) to support to the load, with shoring completed as per the soil condition, and all building processes followed as per the environmental authority’s regulations. Post-tensioning was carried out on the concrete slabs in order to speed up construction and increase efficiency.
Back on the subject of architecture, the PM does add, however, that a key consideration was to ensure that the design and building finish quality was approved by the Dubai Sports City authority as per the organisation’s specifications.
Shaikhani says: “The most important feature of this tower is that it faces the stadium, as it is a very popular area near this major sports venue.
The building also has very good finishes and wide corridors so it feels spacious.” Furthermore he says the building also includes features which ensure it is eco-efficient. “It is very important to us that the building is environment-friendly. We made sure that the design incorporated thermal blocks for the walls, which helps the air-conditioning to run more efficiently.”
Perhaps the only question left for a well-known and smart property developer such as Memon Investments then, which is also investing in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, is: does it think the residential market will pick up again in Dubai? “The policy in Dubai is very similar to that in Abu Dhabi, which is making sure that the economic side of things improves.
In turn, this will attract more people searching for new business opportunities. As the business sector grows, the real-estate market will also benefit, as it always does.”
Cladding/curtain walling: Al Ahram Aluminium & Glazing:
Concrete : Al Baher Ready Mix
Consultants: Adnan Saffarini
Excavation works: Stromek
Lift supplier: ETA Melco
Main contractor: Al Sarh Contracting
MEP contractor: Anwar Al Aqsa
Surveyors: Al Warqa
Swimming pool supplier: Belhasa