Prequalified bidders are now preparing offers for Union Oasis, the first transit-oriented development (TOD) project by Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA has neither disclosed the list of prequalified bidders nor the closing date for the submission of offers. The bidders, referred to as project sponsors, are understood to comprise joint ventures between real estate developers, investors and facility management companies, which will propose to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the scheme.

The prequalification phase was completed in February, following several extensions to the original deadline.

Prior to the final prequalification deadline, the RTA announced integrating a minimum revenue guarantee to the financial structure of the Union Oasis project to relieve the selected developer of the burden of paying a fixed base payment against investing in the project and make it more attractive to investors and developers.

Union Oasis, a mixed-use development scheme on the land above the Union station, where the Dubai Metro’s Green and Red lines meet, is one of the first non-utility schemes in the emirate that will be procured under the public-private partnership (PPP) law, which came into force in November 2015.

The 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.

Union Oasis will be the first in a string of TODs planned by the RTA. Three other potential locations have been identified for similar schemes. These include the land near the Al-Nahda, Salah al-Din and ADCB (Al-Karama) stations.

The UK’s EY has been appointed by the RTA as the transaction adviser. EY completed the feasibility study in 2012 and is now assisting the RTA in the tender process. The firm has teamed up with Faithful+Gould, also of the UK, as technical consultant, and with Trowers & Hamlins for legal consultancy.

On 29 June, the RTA awarded a consortium led by France’s Alstom a $2.9bn contract for the construction of Route 2020, the 15-kilometre line that will connect to the Dubai Expo site from the existing Red Line at the Nakheel Harbour & Tower station.

The Dubai Metro opened in 2009 and is the first metro system to be built in the GCC. Since its launch, its ridership figure increased to 178.6 million in 2015.