The new firm, known as Meraas Investment Company, will be responsible for the project, which will involve redeveloping the tract of land between Sheikh Zayed road and Al-Wasl road, from the World Trade Centre roundabout to Al-Safa.
The area could extend for more than 10 kilometres alongside the highway, with a width of about 2km, and affect tens of thousands of people living in the area.
“The project is still confidential, but I can tell you it will be launched soon,” a source at the development company that is planning the project tells MEED.
The project is still in the planning stages, but is expected to involve the transformation of the Satwa, Al-Wasl and Al-Safa areas. It will extend as far as the planned Creek extension that will pass through the Safa park before re-entering the Gulf. The Roads & Transport Authority is responsible for the Creek extension.
The area to be redeveloped is occupied by low-density residential properties, including villas and low-rise apartment buildings, as well as some commercial space in Al-Satwa. It is not clear how the process of moving people out of the area will be managed.
According to documents seen by MEED Meraas will operate directly under the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Abdullah al-Habai from the Engineer’s Office will be chairman and chief executive officer.
Like other government-owned developers in Dubai, Meraas will use the cash surplus it generates from projects in Dubai to invest in other real estate and private equity opportunities, particularly in the retail, media, financial services and industrial sectors. The real estate investments will focus on mature markets around the world.
In recent years, other government-controlled investment vehicles, such as Istithmar, have acquired numerous properties worldwide, including office buildings on Park Avenue and hotels such as the Knickerbocker in New York and the Adelphi in London.
The venture is not the first to be set up to rejuvenate older areas of Dubai. In May, the government established the Deira Investment Company in a joint venture with South Korea’s Sungwon Corporation. Together they are working on a $5bn redevelopment alongside Dubai creek (MEED 23:5:07).