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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 April 2018

Homes of the future: where Dubai residents will be living in 2020

We look at where and how Dubai residents will be living when Expo 2020 arrives.

The view from Dubai Creek Harbour. Courtesy Emaar
The view from Dubai Creek Harbour. Courtesy Emaar

Waterfront living

Well aware that waterfront living will always be in vogue, Dubai is busy expanding its coastline with new man-made islands and a canal that cuts through the heart of the city. The result? More opportunities for Dubai’s residents to enjoy that ultimate luxury – a home overlooking the water.

Radical changes to the emirate’s waterfronts have already commenced with the Dh2 billion Dubai Water Canal Project. Now 40 per cent complete, the project will link Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf, traversing Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road, Safa Park and Jumeirah. Due for completion in mid-2016, it will eventually be flanked by shops, hotels, restaurants and luxury housing.

Fresh from its success with The Beach and City Walk projects, which very publicly display Meraas Holding’s credentials as a developer of original, well-designed, well-thought-out projects, the company has two new waterfront developments up its sleeve. These include Jumeira Bay Island, a man-made construction off the coast of Jumeirah 1 that will feature a range of accommodation options, including low-rise apartment buildings. Spread across 6.3 million square feet and offering expansive views of the city’s skyline, the development will connect directly to Jumeirah Beach Road via a 300-metre bridge. A second Meraas project, Bluewaters, located off the coast near Jumeirah Beach Residences, will offer a 210-metre-high Ferris wheel to rival the London Eye, as well as retail, residential and hospitality zones, and is slated for completion next year.

Bringing up the charge is Nakheel’s Deira Islands (the project formerly known as Palm Deira). This group of four man-made land masses will cover 15.3 square kilometres and add 40 kilometres to Dubai’s coastline, including 21km of beach. Nakheel announced in April that it would be constructing a 12-­million-square-foot retail, residential and leisure development at the heart of the project, called Deira Islands Mall, Towers and Boulevard, which will act as a self-sustaining community for 10,000 people. One highlight of the project is a night souq with more than 5,000 outlets, slated to open in mid-2017. The Towers will feature 2,400 apartments and town houses set across four clusters. The four islands have already been dredged, and construction of the Mall, Towers and Boulevard is due for completion in time for 2020.

Deira Islands will also include 1.7 million square feet of green communal parkland, which leads us on to our next trend.

Going green

Where Dubai’s developers have traditionally opted to build on every available square inch of land, there’s growing awareness that a bit of greenery will go a long way, particularly when you live in the middle of the desert. If you don’t get a sea view, the least you can hope for is a bit of colour when you look out your ­window.

Damac has been at the forefront of this trend with its Akoya Oxygen community, part of the wider Akoya by Damac development. Dubbed the “first green luxury residential address”, the 55-­million-square-foot Akoya Oxygen is promising to provide ­energy-efficient homes surrounded by lush landscapes and cascading water features. At its centre will sit an 18-hole championship golf course, a five-star hotel, yoga enclave, organic market and luxury spa. A reported one million square metres of space will be taken up by trees.

The aim is to provide residents with cleaner air, cooler temperatures as a result of all the greenery, and eco-friendly interiors with features such as low-emission paints, energy-efficient lighting and solar-powered heating systems. A carefully designed master plan and road network will aim to minimise pollution, as will dedicated areas for bicycles and hybrid cars.

Akoya Oxygen will also have its very own rainforest – home to mahogany, teak, rosewood and okoumé trees, orchids, bromeliads and tropical fruit, nuts, rubber and rattan – proving that ­Dubai has lost none of its knack for headline-grabbing, seemingly incongruous attractions.

The homes at Akoya will also highlight another key trend – a more contemporary, design-­forward style of architecture that has been sorely lacking in some of Dubai’s existing identikit communities. These include the 100 glass-fronted, vastu-­shastra-styled villas in the Trump Estates and villas designed by Fendi.

Located past Arabian Ranches and Dubai Studio City on the ­interchange with the new Emirates Road, Akoya is also an example of how the city is expected to expand and evolve over the coming years.

New neighbourhoods

Where the past has seen development in Dubai run a very linear course that hugs its main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road, and the coastline, the city is set to expand in all directions over the next few years. It’ll be heading out to sea, but also past Jebel Ali, where the Expo 2020 site is located, and farther inland, as in the case of Akoya.

One project set to breathe life into previously uninhabited areas is Mohammed bin Rashid City, a Dh30bn, 47-million-square-foot community that will be located between Sheikh Zayed Road, Mohammed bin Rashid Road and Al Khail Road. Scheduled to open between 2018 and 2019, the city, which is entirely in keeping with the trends outlined above, will feature 600 hectares of green space, 7km of lagoons and 14km of man-made beaches. Once complete, it will be surrounded by 1,500 villas, to be built in four phases, along with a shopping mall and hotels.

One of the first of the apartment projects to come on line in MBRC is Mulberry at Park Heights, a joint venture between Meraas and Emaar featuring 330 apartments set in mid-rise complexes overlooking a park.

Also part of the project is Dubai Creek Harbour at The Lagoons, a luxury residential community set over six million square metres that is being developed by Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding. Standout elements will include the Dubai Twin Towers, two mixed-use buildings billed as the tallest twin towers in the world, as well as the 40-storey Dubai Creek Residences, which will offer luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom homes measuring between 900 and 2,150 square feet. In addition, the community will be home to a yacht club, boulevards, integrated transport systems, and the prerequisite retail and residential zones – all connected by open parks.

“The Dubai Creek is the cradle of our heritage and the lifeline that steered Dubai’s growth. Dubai Creek Residences takes residents to the very source of Dubai’s history and provides them a modern, luxurious, living environment,” said Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, at the unveiling of the project.

The focus here, too, will be on sustainability, as the community flanks Dubai’s 620-hectare Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. According to Emaar: “Dubai Creek Harbour will be both a financially ­viable and ecologically responsible city, built with future generations in mind, using every innovation to minimise its environmental impact. Moreover, the wetlands area will be expanded and cultivated to promote diversity of wildlife.”

Branded residences

While many of Dubai’s new residential communities will be greener and more sustainable than their predecessors, if you think that means the end of flash, designer homes, you’re sorely mistaken.

Damac got in there early with its Fendi- and Versace-branded residences, and the high-­profile partnership with Donald Trump. In addition to the Trump Estates, the developer recently announced that Akoya will be home to Trump PRVT, an exclusive gated community perched on a private island amid the greens and fairways of the community’s Trump International Golf Club.

With a starting price of Dh6.5 million, the houses come with private swimming pools and spacious balconies, as well as a personalised golf buggy. Also part of the package is an exclusive Trump Card, which offers privileges around the globe.

In keeping with the designer-­home trend, Meraas announced last week that Jumeira Bay Island will be home to the Middle East’s first Bulgari Residences, part of the wider 1.7-million-square-foot Bulgari Resort being constructed on the island. The Bulgari Residences will offer 165 apartments, featuring between one and four bedrooms, eight penthouses and 15 mansions offering between three and six bedrooms. Communal facilities will include swimming pools and gyms, as well as a 50-berth marina and Bulgari Yacht Club. The project is being designed by the famed Italian architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners.

“We are proud of the partnership with Meraas in bringing the Bulgari brand’s signature contemporary Italian style to Dubai, where we see great demand for such high-quality developments. In 2017, upon completion of the project, the resort and residences will serve our international niche audience looking for the most exclusive experience,” says Silvio Ursini, the executive vice president of Bulgari.

Whether exclusive, green, ­water-facing, designer-branded or sustainable, one thing is for certain – Dubai residents in 2020 will be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting their homes.

sdenman@thenational.ae

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