• Firms were apprached for PPP scheme in 2013
  • Project was waiting for RTA approval last year
  • Dubai is using alternative funding strategies for projects

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) will seek proposals from bidders in May for the Union Oasis public-private partnership (PPP) development, in the Deira area of Dubai.

The transport agency’s official Twitter feed said on 1 March: “The Project would be implemented on the basis of public-private partnership between the RTA and a private developer selected in the competitive bidding process to be rolled out this May”

MEED reported last year that the RTA was preparing to invite private developers to express interest in the real estate project surrounding Union Station Dubai Metro stop once it had given its final approvals.

A prequalification process for the project, known as Union Oasis, was expected to take place earlier in 2014.

UK-headquartered EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) is the financial adviser on the project and has conducted a feasibility study into the development, while UK firm Atkins has acted as technical adviser and has drawn up the initial architectural designs.

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 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 intended 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.

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