x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Emaar and Dubai Holding to revive Lagoons development

The revival of The Lagoons project caps a busy day of real estate announcements in the run-up to Dubai's Cityscape exhibition.

The Lagoons project, which covers 6 million square metres will create a new skyline for Dubai, its developers say. Courtesy Dubai Holding
The Lagoons project, which covers 6 million square metres will create a new skyline for Dubai, its developers say. Courtesy Dubai Holding

Emaar and Dubai Holding yesterday struck a deal to revive the massive Lagoons development along Dubai Creek as developers across the city unveiled plans for projects worth billions of dollars.

The project announcements came on the eve of what promises to be the biggest Cityscape exhibition for five years.

The Lagoons, which will be spread over an area of six million square metres, will stretch from the banks of the Creek, through central parcels of land linked to Al Khail E 44 Road and across Ras Al Khor, and will form part of Mohammed bin Rashid City.

The development will include a central business district, a youth entrepreneurial zone, cultural amenities, residences, hotels, educational facilities, healthcare centres, a waterfront mall and a wide range of leisure choices, centred around the Dubai Twin Towers skyscrapers.

The original Lagoons project was initially announced by a unit of Dubai Holding in 2006. The development was one of several projects that were shelved following the bursting of the emirate’s property bubble in late 2008.

But Khalid Al Malik, the group chief executive of Dubai Properties Group, Dubai Holding’s property arm, said in 2011 that the project was still under development and had not been scrapped.

Dubai Holding confirmed the relaunch of the revamped project in May. The company said additional details of the development would be released during the Cityscape exhibition, which runs in Dubai from today until Thursday.

The Lagoons is not the only Dubai prestige project to be relaunched, as the emirate’s economy stages a property-driven recovery. The local developer Omniyat last week announced that it was relaunching The Pad and The Opus, originally announced in 2007 and 2008 respectively, to be located in the Business Bay area.

The Pad consists of a 24-storey tower, comprising 231 apartments, and is forecast to be completed in 2015. The Opus, which will extend over 250,000 square feet, will contain the Middle East’s first ME by Meliá hotel, and will include serviced apartments designed by the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. It is scheduled to open in 2016.

Additions to Al Habtoor City, a Dh11 billion development from Al Habtoor Group, and the Dh2.1bn Polo Residences project by Invest Group Overseas (IGO) were also launched yesterday.

Al Habtoor City, which will be located on the banks of the project known as Dubai Water Canal, comprises three previously announced hotel developments – the W, the St Regis and the Westin – and three newly announced residential towers comprising 1,460 luxury apartments and 11 penthouses.

Upon completion, the complex will consist of more than 3,000 hotel and residential units

IGO, meanwhile, unveiled The Polo Residence, a Dh2.1bn project, covering an area of 1.5 million sq ft and comprising 29 buildings, on the flanks of Dubai’s Meydan racecourse.

The announcement of the new developments comes as Dubai rises in popularity as a destination for investments in Asia and the Middle East.

According to a survey of 461 wealthy investors advised by the real estate broker Cluttons, Dubai has edged Singapore into second place as a hotspot for investing in property behind London.

Cluttons asked its richest private clients at nine of its global offices in which cities they were looking to put their cash.

The investors picked London as the most attractive destination. However, Dubai, which had come below Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Yangon last year, was second on the list, attracting investors with its perceived status as a safe haven and relatively high-yielding residential property.

The news comes as the property broker CBRE published figures yesterday reporting that average property rents in Dubai rose 3.5 per cent over the three months to the end of September.

Apartment rents rose 4.5 per cent over the quarter, representing a 28 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

In Business Bay, which has benefited from improvements to roads, rents rose 9 per cent over the quarter and 36 per cent over the year.

However, villa rents, which rose sharply last year, started to slow with quarterly increases of just 3 per cent, representing an annual rent increase of 19 per cent.

jeverington@thenational.ae