Dubai World Central’s move ‘South’ to boost efforts to develop residential community

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says that the Dubai South name 'will become instantly recognisable for years to come'.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation which manages the development, saidt hat the Dubai South name 'will become instantly recognisable for years to come'. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
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Dubai World Central’s decision to rebrand the 145 square kilometre city based around the new Al Maktoum International Airport to “Dubai South” should help the city to establish itself as a residential community, according to business chiefs.

The “Dubai South” name “will become instantly recognisable for years to come”, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates and Dubai Aviation City Corporation, which manages the development.

David Godchaux, the chief executive of Core Savills, also favours the city’s change of name. “I think it’s a good idea. Dubai World Central, to many people, sounds like the place around the airport,” he said.

“And with all of the plans … about the largest airport in the world, it gives the impression of lots of factories and warehouses and that you’d be in the middle of a massive hub.”

Although that would be a boon for logistics firms, it might not be attractive for those in search of a home, said Mr Godchaux. “Dubai South sounds much more like a district or a neighbourhood. Somewhere where you could walk around, more user-friendly,” he said.

Matthew Green, CBRE’s UAE head of research and consultancy, did not think that the change of name would make much difference to people looking for accommodation.

He said the original master plan for the Al Maktoum International Airport was created many years ago, and that proposals for certain parts of the site were yet to be finalised. For instance, it is understood that a review of the residential part of the master plan is being considered.

“It’s just a repositioning,” said Mr Green, adding that the overall concept for the city remained the same.

As the residential district remained relatively undeveloped, it would be better for the master developer to change the name sooner rather than later, he said.

However, Mark Wellman-Riggs, the general manager of Crompton Partners Estate Agents, reckons that Dubai World Central would lose its current brand equity because of the rebranding exercise.

“Dubai World Central is instantly recognisable, and that’s down to the airport,” he said. “People in the city know about it and know where it is. It’s like people know where Dubai Investments Park and the Green Community is. It doesn’t need explaining.

“With Dubai South, people are going to ask ‘where’s that?’. It’s going to confuse people. I still remember when they changed [road] signs to Sheikh Zayed Road North and South. People didn’t know which one to take.”

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