Top 12 announcements from Cityscape Global 2017

Construction Week rounds up the biggest project launches and announcements from Dubai’s largest annual property show

SPECIAL REPORTS, Projects, Sectors, Cityscape Global 2017, Developers in dubai, Dubai projects, Project launches, Property development, Uae projects

Cityscape Global 2017 was awash with high-profile project launches and announcements.

Inaugurated by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, on 11 September, the emirate’s largest annual property exhibition saw 300 exhibitors from both regional and international markets descend on Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for the three-day event.

Now in its 16th year, Cityscape Global provided an ideal platform for developers to unveil their upcoming buildings and communities, and to engage with thousands of prospective customers. The exhibition witnessed project launches from a string of the industry’s biggest players, including Aldar Properties, Azizi Developments, Deyaar Development, Jumeirah Golf Estates, National Bonds Corporation (NBC), and Union Properties (UP).

Meanwhile, those responsible for organising Expo 2020 Dubai used this year’s Cityscape Global to unveil their legacy-related plans. Located in Dubai South, the 2km2 District 2020 development represents a core component of the emirate’s strategy to reuse 80% of Expo 2020’s site infrastructure once the world’s fair has concluded in 2021 (page 14).

In addition to providing the ideal launch pad for developers, this year’s Cityscape Global permitted exhibitors to conduct on-site sales for UAE-based projects for the first time.

In the following feature, Construction Week’s editorial team rounds up its pick of the top launches, partnerships, and off-diary news from the show floor.

Progress on Bahrain Marina

Bahrain Marina Development Company, a subsidiary of the Social Insurance Organization (SIO), is compiling the piling works tender package for its eponymous project, and plans to award the contract at the end of September 2017. Speaking to Construction Week on the sidelines of Cityscape Global, the company said that Bahrain Marina’s piling works are scheduled to commence in Q1 2018, following the completion of reclamation activities and the issuance of a reclamation certificate.

MAF’s Al Zahia is 30% complete

Sharjah’s Al Zahia is approximately 30% complete, according to Hawazen Esber, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim – Communities.  Speaking to Construction Week on the opening day of Cityscape Global, Esber revealed that sales for the development have doubled during the past year. The project’s Phase 3, Al Lilac, is now underway, and all five phases of the community are on track to complete by 2022. Esber added that construction of the $708m (AED2.6bn) City Centre Al Zahia is also on course, with opening scheduled for late 2020.

China state inks deal for $2bn Motorcity

China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME) and Union Properties (UP) inked a deal relating to the development of Motorcity, a $2bn (AED8bn) master-planned community located in Dubai.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on the opening day of Cityscape Global by Nasser Butti Omair Bin Yousef, chairman of UP, and Yu Tao, chief executive officer of CSCEC ME.

Motorcity’s master plan includes 44 high- and low-rise buildings, more than 150 villas, and a wide range of residential, commercial, entertainment, and hospitality facilities. Upon completion, the community will feature more than 11,500 residential units, approximately 3,000 serviced apartments, 3,500 hotel rooms, 46,000m2 of retail space, and 300,000m2 of office space.

The five-phase development is scheduled to break ground in January 2018, with overall completion expected by 2021. Speaking to Construction Week on the sidelines of the exhibition, Bin Yousef revealed that each phase of the project will take 48 months to complete.

Rebranded as The Central, Motorcity’s sports-themed main mall will round off the community’s retail and leisure component, with indoor running tracks, cycling tracks, and swimming facilities.

The first project to be built as part of Phase 1 will be The Vertex, a mixed-use development boasting five towers, a five-star hotel, and serviced apartments.

UP has enlisted architects AR Project Design, Altis, and SDA to oversee Motorcity’s design, and CSCEC ME is due to sign the main contract for the development next year.

Phase 2 of Azizi Riviera sees strong sales

Azizi Developments sold more than 50% of its Azizi Riviera Phase 2 project within the first two days of Cityscape Global. The development, which was launched on the opening day of the exhibition, will involve the construction of 17 buildings within Dubai’s master-planned Meydan One community, and will see the addition of 4,000 new units to the market by 2018.

Speaking to Construction Week on the second day of the event, Farhad Azizi, chief executive officer of Azizi Developments, said that he and his colleagues had set a brisk pace of late, adding that the company had no intention of taking its foot off the gas.

“In the last month, we have delivered almost 1,000 apartments in nine different buildings,” he explained. “By the end of the year, we will be delivering more.”

Tendering for Phase 3 of Azizi Riviera has already commenced, and Phase 4 is scheduled to be floated before the end of 2017, according to Azizi.

During the remainder of the year, the developer plans to float tenders for four to five additional projects, including Safa Towers, which is located on Dubai Water Canal near to Safa Park.

The opus to hand over

Omniyat will start to hand over its Zaha Hadid-designed The Opus in October 2017, according to the developer’s chief executive and founder, Mahdi Amjad.

“We are on final civil inspection and civil defence inspections at the moment, and will be ready for handover in the next four to five weeks,” he told Construction Week. “The full building will now be handed over for fit-out purposes.”

Spanish hospitality firm, ME by Malia, has received its hospitality units, and the fit-out contract for The Opus’s five-star hotel has been awarded to Plafond.

The majority of The Opus’s commercial units have now been sold, and more than 60% of its residential apartments have been purchased. The final batch, which will comprise 20 apartments, will be released for sale in Q4 2017.

“[The Opus] is a very unique property, and we have been achieving some of the highest rates in Downtown Dubai – the response has been great,” Amjad added.

Bloom credits cityscape for 60% of its sales

A regular fixture at Cityscape Global, Bloom Holding has credited the exhibition for approximately 60% of its annual transactions.

Speaking to Construction Week on the event’s opening day, Sameh Muhtadi, chief executive officer of Bloom Holding, commented: “We regularly have a presence at Cityscape. I think this is our seventh year [of participation].

“For us, it’s a great event because we actually do more work and sales here than any other venue. I’d say about 60% of our transactions are a direct result of Cityscape,” he added.

Muhtadi noted that in previous years, transactions “happened on or within a day or two of Cityscape”.

“That’s how important the event has been for us,” he continued. “And this is the first year that [on-stand] sales are being allowed, which I think is an excellent development.”

With four projects on offer at the exhibition, Bloom’s CEO said that his team expected to perform as well as in recent years, if not better.

“We have four projects that we’re offering,” explained Muhtadi. “Phase 2 of Bloom Towers and Phase 2 of Bloom Heights [are] located in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), and both generate excellent rental yields, which I think is what our investors are looking for. We also have two projects in Saadiyat: Park View and Soho Square. We have a few units remaining there, and we’re offering those [during the exhibition].”

UAE’s Reem Tower to break ground in 2018

Main construction works for Abu Dhabi’s 44-storey Reem Tower are expected to commence in mid-2018, according to the project’s designer.

Japanese architecture firm, Nikken Sekkei, told Construction Week that the 335-unit residential project is likely to take approximately two and a half years to complete, depending on approvals.

Launched at Cityscape Global by UAE-based developer, National Bonds Company (NBC), the 172m-tall Reem Tower project will be situated in the northeast of Al Reem Island’s Marina Square. The development will boast a built-up area of 87,075m2, and will offer parking for 500 vehicles.

Fadi Jabri, Nikken Sekkei’s executive officer and principal with responsibility for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and India regions, said: “I think that Reem Tower will break ground in the middle of next year. It should take two to two and a half years [to construct,] but that depends on the approval process.”

Upon completion, Reem Tower will include 216 two-bedroom apartments, 117 three-bedroom apartments, and two four-bedroom apartments. The building will also feature a swimming zone, a garden zone, and various sports facilities.

Al Reem Island is located 300m from the north-eastern coast of Abu Dhabi city, and is connected to the mainland by two bridges.

Deyaar launches $272m Dubai project

Deyaar Properties launched its $272m (AED1bn) South Bay development at Cityscape Global. The 63-storey tower, which will be located in Dubai’s Business Bay area, will boast a built-up area of 12ha, with 926 residential, serviced apartment, and hotel units.

Available in studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts,  448 of the total number of units will be residential, 133 will be serviced apartments, and 345 will be hotel units operated by a multinational hospitality brand. South Bay is Deyaar’s first project to feature three different types of accommodation.

Commenting on the development, Saeed Al Qatami, chief executive officer of Deyaar Properties, said: “We’re extremely pleased to showcase our newest development, South Bay, here at Cityscape.

“South Bay will be the perfect addition to our growing portfolio, as a property suitable for anyone looking to live at a prestigious address in the heart of modern Dubai,” he added. “Business bay is one of the most exciting neighbourhoods to be in today, and South Bay will be in the very centre of the city’s leisure and business district.”

Imkan unveils project

Imkan used Cityscape Global as a platform to launch its Makers District project. Located on Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island, the  18ha community will feature a diverse range of residential, hospitality, commercial, and retail offerings.

Walid El Hindi, chief executive officer of Imkan, said: “The Makers District development epitomises our approach to creating soulful places that enrich people’s lives, and we’ve chosen Cityscape Global to launch it.

“Cityscape [was also] the opportunity for people to learn more about Imkan, and our pioneering research-driven approach to building new communities,” El Hindi added.

Following the launch, Imkan inked a $33m (AED120m) deal with Ramboll. Under the terms of the agreement, the latter will act as the lead consultant for Phase 1 of Makers District.

The $545m (AED2bn) community is scheduled to complete in 2020.

Aldar showcases $653m Water’s Edge

After a five-year absence from Cityscape Global, Aldar Properties returned to the exhibition to showcase its $653.4m (AED2.4bn) Water’s Edge development.

The Abu Dhabi-based developer unveiled the mid-market residential project on 4 September, days before the real estate show opened its doors to the public.

Commenting on Aldar’s participation in this year’s event, Talal Al Dhiyebi, the firm’s chief development officer, said: “We participate in Cityscape Abu Dhabi every year, but after five years of not participating in [Cityscape Global,] we decided we wanted to come in with a flagship development, showcasing what the Aldar brand is about. And so we decided to bring Water’s Edge.

“We’re seeing unprecedented demand; higher than we expected,” Al Dhiyebi continued. “We’ll definitely be launching more products within the mid-market segment.”

During the exhibition, Aldar signed an agreement with Union National Bank (UNB) to provide escrow account services for Water’s Edge buyers.

“Aldar Properties was the first company to be granted a master developer licence under the Abu Dhabi Real Estate Law, and this agreement marks our third escrow account project,” Al Dhiyebi added.

JGE unveils $272M housing project

Jumeirah Luxury Living showed off its $272m (AED1bn) Jumeirah Luxury – The Life development at Cityscape Global. Located within Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE) master development, the residential project will feature 291 attached villas and townhouses, with views of the community’s Fire golf course.

The project will comprise 195 three- and four-bedroom townhouses, and 96 three- and five-bedroom attached villas. Buyers will be able to customise the properties in line with their personal requirements.

Imperial avenue still on course

Dubai’s Imperial Avenue is on track to meet its targeted handover date of December 2019, according to its developer Shapoorji Pallonji.

The luxury residential development represents the construction giant’s first foray as a developer outside of its domestic market of India. Cyrus Engineer, managing director of Shapoorji Pallonji International Property Developers (SPIPD), told Construction Week that the 424-apartment tower is currently between 16% and 20% complete.

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