Tall towers make a comeback in Dubai

28 April 2015

High-rise schemes stalled following the global financial crisis

Tall towers are back on the agenda for contractors working in Dubai as clients move forward with high-rise projects.

The most recent scheme to move towards construction is the Burj 2020 tower. The project client, Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), has approached contractors to discuss building the structure, which when completed will be the world’s tallest commercial tower.

Burj 2020 is not the first post 2008 financial crisis skyscraper to move towards construction. Local developer Emaar Properties has been developing most of the new towers.

In 2014 it awarded Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Company (ACC) the estimated AED3bn ($817m) contract to build the Address Residence Fountain Views development that involves building three towers including a 220-metre-tall, 60-storey residential tower.

ACC also won the estimated $490m contract to build The Address Residence Sky View towers at the Downtown Dubai development last year. The twin-tower complex will have two towers that will be more than 230 metres tall and will link directly to the Dubai Metro and Dubai Mall.

Emaaralso awarded Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) for the contract to build the 65-storey Burj Vista towers in its Downtown Dubai district in 2014, and in In January 2013, it awarded Brookfield Multiplex the deal to build the Address The BLVD hotel and residential tower.

Emaar is not the only client developing high rise projects. At the end of 2014, Saudi Arabia’s El-Seif Engineering Contracting won the estimated AED2bn contract to build the 100-plus-storey Entisar tower for local property developer MeydanGroup.

The project involves building a 100-plus-storey tower that will include serviced apartments, shops, swimming pools and garden areas. It will be built on Sheikh Zayed Road, next to the existing Fairmont hotel.

In November 2013, Arabtec Construction has won an AED1.8bn contract for the construction of a mixed-use high-rise tower on Sheikh Zayed Road. The 77-storey, mixed-use tower will be 369 metres tall and will comprise over 22,000 square metres of office space on 18 floors, and 908 square metres of retail area. It will also include a 350-room hotel and 83 serviced apartments, as well as 180 apartments.

Other high-rise projects are planned. The most high profile is the One Zabeel tower that is being developed by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). In early February, ICD invited selected contractors to submit prequalification documents for the tower that will be built in the World Trade Centre area. The building has been designed as a new landmark structure for Dubai, with Nikken Sekkei’s design being chosen ahead of proposals from at least three other leading international design firms.

The local Wasl is also developing an iconic structure. It plans to build a 60-storey tower close to Al-Fattan’s new tower development off Sheikh Zayed Road, known as Wasl Tower. The scheme was approved by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed in February.

Local developer Al-Fattan Properties is also planning to build a mixed-use development off Sheikh Zayed Road in the Satwa area, close to the Dubai Petroleum offices. The scheme involves building three towers that will include a hotel, and commercial and retail space.

Dubai has 18 completed towers that are taller than 300m, with most opening between 2008 and 2013 as projects awarded during the emirate’s 2003-2008 construction boom were completed. The most active contractors in the high-rise sector are Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Company which has completed five 300m-plus towers and Canada’s Brookfield Multiplex that has finished four 300m-plus schemes.

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