Experts: Dubai property must evolve for tech firms

The city might have to amend its zone development strategy if it hopes to attract more global tech office-space occupiers, a report by Savills claimed

Dubai might have to amend its zonal strategy to attract global tech firms. [Representational image]
Dubai might have to amend its zonal strategy to attract global tech firms. [Representational image]

Dubai might have to change its zone development strategy to attract more global tech occupiers, according to a report by international real estate advisor Savills.

The firm said that while 2012 to 2014 saw a boom in Dubai office supply delivery, a year-on-year increase in available space was recorded at 13% in 2014, mainly among out-of-town business zones.

According to Arabian Business, the report said space which has largely attracted international corporate occupiers has seen rents fall as supply has overtaken demand.

In Dubai's finance sector, take-up has fallen by 6.7% during the first half of 2015, and rents have fallen by as much as 60% since 2008, Savills said.

The report suggests that developers now need to turn towards creating specific pedestrian-friendly, urban schemes to attract the global tech occupiers who are looking for accommodation in the distinctive, creative, urban environments that have fared well in cities such as London and New York.

"One of the key features of successful tech environments is the capability of streets of a tech neighbourhood to facilitate human interaction and serendipitous meetings between people with different skills and capabilities," the report continued. 

In terms of existing stock, the report indicates Citywalk in Dubai, a new low-rise mixed-use development arranged around a traditional street layout is an early successful example of a more tech-friendly development.

David Godchaux, CEO of Core Savills said: "There is an emerging trend that we are seeing whereby some developers are moving away from mega-structures in which cars are essential, to more pedestrianised and urban communities which align with a high-end European lifestyle.

"These developments are typically low-rise and promote more intimate and small-scale shopping, grocery and street retail experiences, which are growing in popularity.

"The new prime real estate in Dubai will have a focus on quality not quantity, with a shift away from the 'longest, tallest and biggest' mind frame, at least in the very prime real estate segment."

Yolande Barnes, director of Savills world research, added: "As its market has matured, Dubai has recognised that to ensure sustainable growth it needs to supply a full mix of office space and styles, including space that appeals to a growing number of tech and creative companies.

"This requires a completely different type of development mindset and approach to urban planning, which also needs to overcome the unique challenges posed by Dubai's climate." 

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