Private developers will be invited to express interest in a project to develop the land surrounding Dubai’s Union metro station before the end of the year, once the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) gives its final approvals.

A prequalification process for the project, known as Union Oasis, was expected to take place earlier this year, but has been delayed due to pending sign-off from the authorities, a source tells MEED.

Details of the project to upgrade the area around the metro stop in Deira were announced towards the end of 2013, although the RTA had invited consultants to bid for the project masterplan in 2009.

The project is intended to be developed as some form of public-private partnership (PPP) between the RTA and a private developer. The chosen developer will be given a long-term concession to develop the land, after which point it will be returned to the RTA.

The scheme is modelled as a transit-oriented development (TOD), a concept that aims to maximise the area surrounding transport hubs, with an aim of increasing usage of the nearby trains, metros and buses.

Union Station is one of the busiest stations on the Dubai Metro network as it is where the Red and Green metro lines meet. It is also close to Dubai creek and has connections with water taxis and local buses. 

The Union Oasis project also forms part of a wider plan to regenerate the Deira area, which lies at the heart of old Dubai, as well as encourage more people to use public transport.

The Dubai Metro was opened in 2009, and is the first metro system to be built in the GCC. Since its launch, ridership has increased every year from 39 million trips in 2010 to an anticipated 137 million trips by the end of 2013.