Contrary to popular expectation, Dubai’s penchant for the ‘biggest, tallest and the best’ has not been dimmed by the property meltdown in the emirate in 2008/2009. If anything, the announcements for huge developments have only increased in the past year.
While some are new ideas, others are revamped versions of earlier projects that were stalled or suspended during the crisis.
Gulf Business rounds up five big developments that, when complete, are certain to reshape Dubai’s map.
1. Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City)
Announced by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in November last year, this massive tourism and retail development, linked with Business Bay and Downtown Dubai, will include the world’s largest mall and a park 30 per cent bigger than London’s Hyde Park.
The development will also include over 100 hotel facilities, and will be built by Dubai Holding and real estate firm Emaar Properties.
2. Theme Parks Complex
The Dhs10 billion development, also revealed around the same time as the MBR City project, includes a complex of five theme parks, the first stage of which is slated for completion in 2014.
Located near the Jebel Ali port area, the complex will include an adventure park featuring Hollywood brands, a marine park, a children’s park and a night safari. The project will be developed by Meraas Holding.
3. Dubai Design District
To promote and develop its fashion and design sectors, the emirate revealed the ‘Dubai Design District’ earlier this year. Located adjacent to the Business Bay area, the district will be operated by TECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding.
The district aimed at becoming a full-service commercial hub for design industry-related organisations and brands, and seeks to support local and regional designers.
It will feature commercial and retail facilities for established and emerging designers, design institutes, waterfront promenade, a convention centre, event venues and related academic institutions.
4. Bluewater Island
The Dhs6 billion ($1.63 billion) Bluewaters Island development, to be developed by Meraas Holding, will feature the world’s largest Ferris wheel, called Dubai Eye.
Construction of the 210 metre (688 foot) wheel, estimated to cost Dhs1 billion, is slated to begin in the second quarter this year.
The island project, approved in February this year, is located off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence, and will also include residential properties, retail outlets, hotels and restaurants.
5. The Water Discus Hotel
Dubbed to become the world’s largest underwater hotel when ready, the Water Discus hotel, being developed by Swiss firm BIG InvestConsult, is expected to emerge off the emirate’s coast in the next five years.
Designed by Polish company Deep Ocean Technology, the hotel will have two discs – one underneath the water, and one suspended above the water.
Details such as financing and exact location are yet to be disclosed.