Residents of JBR in Dubai look forward to trying the cinema but worry about its effects on traffic and rent prices.
UAE’s first outdoor cinema and beachfront mall to open soon
DUBAI // Residents of Jumeirah Beach Residences have welcomed a new outdoor cinema and a mall due to open in their neighbourhood this month.
But they say they are wary of the development’s effects on traffic and rent prices.
The Beach at JBR will consist of four plazas connected by an esplanade and will have restaurants, shops and provide family entertainment.
Its most prominent feature will be an open-air cinema, the first of its kind in the country.
This week, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, visited the 1 kilometre-long mall with the Hollywood actor Will Smith.
One JBR resident said she was thrilled about the open-air cinema being so close to her home.
“I am excited about the new development,” said Puja Vijaykant, an Indian who lives in Sadaf, a JBR tower block.
“I would really love to go to the open cinema. When Dubai does something, it usually does it well. I am sure it will be a nice experience.
“But I am really concerned about the traffic and the rentals. I see a parade of cars every evening at The Walk. They need to figure out a way to get people to leave their cars behind.”
Mrs Vijaykant said she also missed being able to see the beach from her home.
“The unique selling point of JBR was the pretty blue waters but we don’t see that anymore,” she said.
Neeta Kumari, an interior designer who is planning to rent in the area, said she was put off by the congestion.
“It has become too commercial now,” Ms Kumari said. “There is too much traffic and it is no longer a good residential area. Getting in and out is difficult.
“I don’t mind living there if they do something about the roads.”
Dubai Properties Group, the master developer of JBR, is building a 240-room beachfront hotel and an amphitheatre at The Walk and said it was working on improvements.
“DPG has recently started major development works to upgrade the area with the aim of further elevating its status as a world-class beachside destination,” a spokesman said.
“These upgrades will enhance traffic and pedestrian flows in and around The Walk and JBR, and will contribute to easy connectivity, with future tram stops as well as improved linkage for pedestrian flows to Dubai Marina.”
The Beach’s developer, Meraas, said its project would not cause more traffic woes.
“We do not anticipate its opening to escalate traffic problems,” said a Meraas spokesman. “Traffic flow will vary, given the fact that access to The Beach is through various roads within the area.
“Additionally, once the Dubai Marina tram service becomes operational, the number of cars entering the premises is bound to reduce.”
He said there would be 1,200 parking spots at The Beach, as well as a valet parking service.
Different outlets within The Beach will open in phases, he said.
“Specific opening dates of the outlets will be announced in due course.”
Restaurants at The Walk hoped the additional parking spaces would help business.
“It will be positive for us as it will attract more customers,” said Christopher Sanchez, manager of El Chico Mexican restaurant.
“RTA is also renovating the routes and making it two lanes, so traffic is part of the plan.”
Despite efforts to improve traffic management in the area, DPG urged residents to use public transport.
“The Walk is a very popular destination, particularly on weekends, and we encourage our visitors to use public transport including the Dubai Metro, which has two stations within close proximity of The Walk,” said the spokesman.
Julie Deltour, another resident, said she was looking forward to the new attractions.
“I am very excited,” said the French expatriate, who lives in the Murjan block at JBR. “I love the cinema and will visit it.”
But Ms Deltour said she would only continue to live in JBR if rents remained affordable.