Over the past decade, the city of Dubai has stretched down Sheikh Zayed Road towards the Abu Dhabi border as the focus of development was projects such as Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers.
More recently, the focus has shifted back to the creek, which is Dubais traditional commercial centre.
Speaking at the launch of the Dubai Creek Harbour scheme in October 2014, Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar, who grew up on the banks of the waterway. stressed the importance of the creek to Dubai. This 6 million-square-metre site can do so much to extend the city back into the city where we belong, on the edge of the creek.
Dubai Creek Harbour is not the only project being developed on the shores of the creek, and as these projects gather momentum and buildings start to be completed, the centre of Dubai will start to shift back towards the waterways familiar shores.
Dubai Creek Harbour
The Dubai Creek Harbour at the Lagoons is Emaars largest project in Dubai. It was launched by the company and another local developer, Dubai Holding, in October last year. The two firms signed a joint venture agreement to develop the site in 2013.
Unlike many other Dubai projects, Emaar says the scheme is a long-term concern and not based on short-term buying patterns and business cycles.
The project will aim to develop a residential, commercial and leisure destination for Dubai, much like Emaars other developments, Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina.
Later phases will include 39,000 residential units, more than 8 million square feet of retail space, 3,664 office units, and 22 hotels with 4,400 rooms. The centrepiece of the development will be two tall towers.
Dubai Creek Waterfront
The $349m Dubai Creek Waterfront in the Al-Fahidi area on the Bur Dubai side of the creek is being developed by the local Meraas Holding.
In April, the local/UK Dutco Balfour Beatty replaced the local/UK Al-Futtaim Carillion (AFC) as the main contractor on the scheme Meraas $349m Dubai Creek Waterfront scheme. The contract involves the construction of retail buildings, car parks, three hotels, a mosque, museums and a market.
Jewel of the Creek
The Jewel of the Creek development is located in the Port Saeed area on the Deira side of the Creek. The project has been under construction for about seven years, and stalled during the foundation stages after the financial crisis in late 2008.
In May 2014, the local/Australian Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) was awarded the AED1.45bn ($395m) contract for package 8 of the Jewel of the Creek development. The work involves constructing five hospitality buildings including a five-star hotel, four serviced apartment buildings, a large ballroom, a marina and landscaping works.
The total above-ground, built-up area is about 160,000 sq m. HLG also won the estimated AED400m ($109m) substructure contract in July 2011. The work involves the construction of a four-level basement for the development.
The Investment Corporation of Dubai is developing AED8bn ($2.2bn) Deira Waterfront that will involve the overhaul some of the traditional souk areas of the old central business district on the Deira side of the creek. The project is still in the early planning stages and several consultants have been advising on the delivery of the scheme.
Dubai Municipality plans to build a new project known as Aladdin City in the Dhow Wharfage area of Al-Rigga. The project, which is still understood to be in the early planning stages, will have three towers, comprising commercial and hotel space, with the towers spread over a distance of 450 metres along Dubai Creek.
Dubais Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) is building a new signature bridge and road corridor in the Shindagha area at the mouth of the creek.
In June, the RTA appointed US-based Parsons International as the engineering consultant for the scheme.
The US firm will complete the preliminary concept and design, prepare tender documentation and supervise the construction of the project, which includes a signature bridge across the entrance to the Dubai Creek, a 12 lane expressway and various intersections in Deira and Bur Dubai, as well as an evaluation of the existing Shindagha tunnel.
The RTA was planning to move forward with the construction of the new Ittihad Bridge, which will replace the existing Floating Bridge. It received expressions of interest (EoIs) from contractors last year and was due to hold a pre-bid meeting in January this year, but the meeting was cancelled.
The 2.7-kilometre-long crossing will be 22-52 metres wide and will extend beyond Al-Riyadh Road on the Bur Dubai side of the creek, and up to the Dubai-Sharjah Road on the Deira side. The main creek crossing will be a 420-metre-long span supporting 12 lanes of traffic. The bridge will be built in segments and will have a decorative steel arch. The consultant is the US Parsons.
Dubai Water Canal
The Dubai Water Canal will extend Dubai Creek back out the Gulf. It involves the excavation of a new waterway passing under Sheikh Zayed road and running through the Al-Safa area.
The scheme, which is being developed by a joint venture of local developers Meydan and Meraas, includes a new shopping centre, hotels, and restaurants, in addition to luxury housing and cycling paths. It will also include public places and facilities, as well as private marinas for boats and a new trade centre at the canals entrance.
The excavation of the waterway and the construction of the bridges is being managed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The project is split into three construction contracts, which were awarded to contractors in 2013 and 2014.
Turkish contractor Mapa Gunal is building the first phase, China State Construction Engineering Corporation is working on the second phase, and the local/Belgian Belhasa Six Construct has been awarded the contract for the third phase.