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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Land sales to get under way at Dubai's District 2020 next year

District 2020, the legacy development of Expo 2020 Dubai, will begin offering plots of land for sale to third-party developers – with investors offered opportunities in commercial and residential assets – from the beginning of next year, a senior official said.

“All of it. We are talking about both assets within commercial and residential and also land [buying] opportunities for investors who are interested," Marjan Faraidooni, the senior vice president of Legacy Impact and Development at Expo 2020 Dubai told The National at Cityscape Global on Monday.

The emirate unveiled the District 2020 to the public at this week's mega property event. It is designed to be a significant contributor to Dubai’s long-term economic growth once Expo 2020 concludes.

“We have commenced speaking to interested parties. Right now it is more about creating awareness, seeking interest and taking those discussions forward," she said. “So within the next year first quarter we [will be] having the official discussion [on the sales]”, said Ms Faraidooni.

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The 65,000 square metres of residential space within the District 2020 will be built by Dubai Expo, and further capacity could be added by the third-party developers who can invest in the project through plots of land.

Dubai Expo will also create 135,000 square metres of office space that will be transitioned to the market.

Dubai Expo is already in talks with local and international firms who could potentially set up base at the District 2020. It is particularly targeting companies within the logistics and transport, travel and tourism, education and real estate sectors.

“We have a very particular strategy around bringing in companies within four key industries and paring them up with technology companies,” Ms Faraidooni said. Siemens, the global technology major has commited to setting up a logistics hub at the site, which she said will bring 700 employees of the company to the city.

“We have already commenced talks with local and international companies about their presence in the District 2020. We are going to announce another key tenant of the city in the next few days,” Ms Faraidooni said, without revealing the name of the firm.

District 2020, which will be home to innovation, educational, cultural and entertainment facilities as well as a dedicated conference and exhibition centre, will become an integral part of the legacy of the Expo from the fourth quarter of 2021.

The overall repurposing of the Expo site and transitioning it into District 2020 will require between six to nine months, Ms Faraidooni said, without specifying the cost .

Dubai is expected to award Dh11 billion worth of contracts related to Expo 2020 this year. Contracts to build the three major pavilions representing the main themes of sustainability, opportunity and mobility will be awarded in the fourth quarter of this year, Ahmed Al Katib, the event's vice-president of real estate, told The National in July. A tender to build up to 30,000 car parking spaces around the outer elements of the site is also due to be floated by the end of the current quarter.

The biggest contract awarded so far this year is a Dh2.2bn deal with Al Futtaim Carillion for the site’s three thematic districts, but Mr Khatib said at the time that many smaller contracts had also been awarded on site for facilities such as police stations and substations.