Head down town
Salah Ameen talks about why a landscape is important
Salah Ameen, executive director for Limitless in the Middle East talks, about why a landscape is important and how the Metro will be an essential element of The Galleries.
I think thing’s are coming back. As an indication from the market, steel was AED 2200, now it’s AED 3000. This sends a good message that the market will hopefully come back.
Do you plan on opening any more tenders in the near future?
When it comes to The Galleries, we don’t have much to offer, because we are in the process of finishing what we have in hand. But we do have, as part of the community facilities here, a mosque coming up for 500 people.
We are expecting that hopefully the tender will come out in about 4-6 weeks.We also have the Metro station, which we are pushing the RTA to get opened. There are still a few things that from our side may need to be done, to provide access. These are not big jobs, but at the end of the day, they are things that we are still going to add.
Are you pushing the RTA to open the Metro station near The Galleries?
We are because this is the last station on the Red line and when you look around these buildings we have about 1500 people and they use lots of mass transport. Plus you have 6000 companies located in Jafza north and south, with lots of staff using mass transport.
We have personally been with the RTA a couple of times over the last two months and we are eager to have it open the station. The official opening date is now October.
What are the expected completion dates for The Galleries?
The offices are already done, with 50% leased or in the closing stages of finalising the leases. We have just opened The Plaza and landscaping area and we are expecting the first 330 residential building units to be ready by early 2011.
Why was The Plaza so important?
I felt that it is an essential part of The Galleries. This is where people start interacting, this is the life of the development.
I had taken a commitment to deliver this to add value to the project. The people who work here need some space and Limitless’ vision is to give lots of thought and importance to the open spaces.
We are working to make The Galleries a destination, we are not just concentrating on the people who work or live here, it is also for the people who are coming from outside to make this area a destination. So it was important personally for me to have this delivered as we have promised our tenants it would be done.
So what’s next?
We are trying to complete The Galleries and then the next thing is to push the residential developments on line; I have about nine months until the first units will be ready.
What about the rest of Downtown Jebel Ali?
We are not responsible for delivering the whole of Downtown Jebel Ali. As master developer we have sold almost 250 plots to third party developers. We are responsible for the handling of all the issues for Downtown Jebel Ali.
Beside the construction, there is the operation of these developments, and making sure that the third party developers are sticking to all the development. We also reserved about 30 plots for ourselves. We are looking into those and will go back to them when we feel the market demand [is there].
Are you ready for the implementation of the new strata regulations?
We hope that the authority looking after this comes up with solid set of regulations that will really protect all the parties. We look forward to have those things in hand.
We have a community manager role within Downtown Jebel Ali, who looks at all of these issues. We are in continuous contact with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency to see how they are moving on this. We are treating this as
The plaza in numbers
- 1,700 low energy lights throughout the grounds
- 300 seats in The Plaza’s amphitheatre
- 288 m2 of steel frame shielding the giant multimedia screen
- 200 trees planted throughout
- 176 individual monitors linked to make one digital screen
- 140 aquatic plants in the Lotus Pond
- 50 sprinklers in The Plaza’s cascading water feature
- 41 giant Plaza pots with trees
- 30% of The Galleries’ total land area taken up The Plaza
- 24 nozzles in the Orchid Fountain
- 8 LEED-certified mixed-use buildings surrounding The Plaza