A second major canal scheme is being planned for Dubai to link Business Bay with the Gulf, as developers focus on creating more waterfront residences.

In all, Dubai is now planning more than 120 kilometres of inland waterways and canals running the length of the emirate within 10 years.

The waterways are increasingly being created by developers to attract buyers who prefer waterfront properties.

The latest waterways planned for the emirate will be 42km of canals running through the recently launched AED200bn ($54bn) Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens scheme, which is being developed by Dubai Properties.

The project will extend up to 25km from Dubai Creek, taking it from the recently completed creek extension in Business Bay through Al-Quoz and Umm Suqeim before rejoining the Gulf.

The canal will eventually join the sea close to the Burj al-Arab hotel, according to consultants involved with the scheme.

“It is still in the early stages, but one idea is to use the Burj al-Arab as a landmark for the entry into the canal, like the Statue of Liberty in New York,” says one consultant working on the canal project.

The creek waterway system is one of two major canal networks being developed in the emirate. Work is already under way on
the 80km-long Arabian Canal scheme by another local developer, Limitless.

Nakheel, which will develop the first 23km of this canal, recently began flooding the first entry point, near the Palm Jebel Ali at Dubai Waterfront.

The Arabian Canal’s northern entry point into the Gulf will be close to Dubai Marina, less than 10km from the expected southern entry point for the Creek water system at Burj al-Arab.

Plans for another canal, known as the Union Canal, to link Business Bay with the Arabian Canal were discussed when the latter was first launched in 2004.

This project is expected to be revived in the near future, although it is now expected to link the Arabian Canal with the new canal. As yet, it remains unclear which Dubai-based developer will be responsible for the scheme.

There is a strong economic incentive for building the canals. The waterways, like Dubai’s three Palm islands and The World, will create more waterfront real estate space for the emirate.

Limitless is planning to develop 200-square-kilometres of land around the inland section of the Arabian Canal, most of which will be waterfront property.

Waterfront residential property has been one of the strongest performing sectors of the real estate market over the past five years, with developers able to charge a premium to buyers who want to live close to the water.

The trend for the development of waterfront residences is expected to continue as the market matures and investors look more at individual projects and their locations (MEED 28:4:08).