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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Exclusive: Dubai Investments to build ‘Crazy Garden’ domed leisure park

Project will house air-conditioned football pitch, cafes and gardens, developer says

Named ‘Crazy Garden’, the project has an investment value of Dh250 million and will be built across 33,000 square metres of land in the Meydan area of Dubai. Courtesty Dubai Investments
Named ‘Crazy Garden’, the project has an investment value of Dh250 million and will be built across 33,000 square metres of land in the Meydan area of Dubai. Courtesty Dubai Investments

A Dh250 million domed leisure park comprising gardens, parks, cafes and sports facilities is to be built in Dubai with construction starting this summer, according to the chief executive of Dubai Investments, the company leading the plans.

Named ‘Crazy Garden’, the project has an investment value of Dh250 million and will be built across 33,000 square metres of land in the Meydan area of Dubai, close to Downtown, the Dubai Opera District, and the Meydan Racecourse.

“We’ve been planning this for two years and have just received the green light from the Dubai Municipality to progress with the scheme,” said Khalid bin Kalban, managing director and chief executive of Dubai Investments, in an interview with The National. He did not provide a targeted completion date.

Dubai Investments, which is listed on the Dubai Financial Market, is a diversified company in which sovereign wealth fund Investment Corporation of Dubai has an 11.54 per cent stake.

Real estate accounts for around 68 per cent of the group’s total Dh17bn of assets as of 31 December 2017, and contributes 57 per cent to group revenues. The other sectors Dubai Investments operates in include manufacturing and contracting, education and healthcare, and financial services.

Crazy Garden is scheduled to begin construction in the next 3-4 months, Mr bin Kalban said. The project will be an indoor entertainment destination with restaurants, cafes, a football pitch, public spaces such as a wedding venue, and a series of gardens.

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The 15,000 square metres of built-up space will be entirely covered with a 14-metre-high glass dome so that the facility can be used 365 days per year, although in winter some glass panels could be removed to let in fresh air, the chief executive said.

There will be an entrance fee – this is still being finalised but is intended to be “cheap”.

“Lots of thought went into the location for this project,” Mr bin Kalban added. “It was supposed to be next to Dubai Safari Park [on the Abu Dhabi road beyond Jebel Ali], but the consultant we engaged said we need a bigger catchment area of residents, including housewives in the central neighbourhoods of Dubai dropping their children to school and then going to have a coffee in there, for example.”

At the same time, the project will create jobs and contracts for Dubai Investments’ companies, including glass, aluminium and district cooling operations.

Dubai Investments has around Dh4.5 billion of real estate projects under construction at present, according to the chief executive. The figure rises to around Dh5.5bn when pipeline projects are taken into consideration.

The company and its subsidiaries are also building Mirdif Hills, a mixed-use freehold project including housing, a hospital and hotel, the third phase of the Green Community West residential scheme and the retail component of Dubai Investments Park, as well as five schools across Egypt and Kenya through its $100m Africa Crest Education fund.