Developers need to plan more than ever before

07 September 2016

Projects have to consider economic uncertainty and disruptive technologies

On 31 August, Dubai Holding said it was moving its Mall of the World development from the Police Academy site on Sheikh Zayed Road to a new site in Dubailand off Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed road.

According to Dubai Holding, the new location on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road will allow for the mall to be expanded in the future according to market needs, and will help Dubai enhance its tourism potential.

The move does not mean Dubai Holding is turning its back on the immense opportunity that the Police Academy site offers.

Covering an area of 4.3 square kilometres, it is the last large site to be developed along Sheikh Zayed Road in between the World Trade Centre and Jebel Ali.

In its place, Dubai Holding has launched the Jumeirah Central development, and after the plans were approved by UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on 3 September, there was a press briefing on the scheme on 4 September.

The scale of the project is huge. Dubai Holding expects the 69 buildings of the first phase to cost AED24bn ($6.5bn) to construct. The total gross floor area for the first phase will be 1.55 million square metres, split into 18 residential buildings, 15 hotels, 12 office buildings, a shopping mall, a food and beverage market hall, two theatres, five parks and plazas, and eight car parking structures. Altogether they will have 3,000 apartments, 2,800 hotel rooms and 15,000 car spaces.

Projects of this scale inevitably come with challenges. The economic outlook is uncertain and disruptive technologies are changing the way we travel, shop and interact with one another. And these uncertainties mean developers have to plan far more meticulously when planning future projects than they have in the past.

The level of planning now required was apparent at the press briefing as the level of detail given far exceeded anything given by developers in Dubai before when launching new projects. Special emphasis was given to long-term planning and a collaborative approach that included inputs from stakeholders within both the public and private sectors to tackle challenges such as transportation, climate and economic viability.

Considered planning means Dubai’s new crop of masterplanned developments should be well placed to avoid the shortfalls of previous developments, while at the same time embrace whatever challenges may emerge in the future.

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