Construction on apartments at Dubai Maritime City finally starts

Ground broken on the 48-storey, Dh600 million Anwa tower in the delayed Dubai Maritime City megaproject close to Port Rashid.
A rendering of Anwa at Dubai Maritime City. Courtesy Omniyat
A rendering of Anwa at Dubai Maritime City. Courtesy Omniyat

Construction work has finally started on the first apartment block to be built at the long-awaited Dubai Maritime City.

The Dubai developer Omniyat broke ground on its 48-storey, Dh600 million Anwa tower in the delayed Dubai Maritime City’s megaproject close to Port Rashid.

Omniyat said that it had appointed the Australian company Kele as the contractor for the tower, which will comprise 225 flats and 8,133 square feet of shops, and Al Ghurair Contracting & Engineering Works as the specialist contractor for piling works.

Off-plan apartments at the project are to be launched on Wednesday and work was expected to be competed by 2017, the company said. It added that more than half of the building had already been effectively reserved and the project was fully funded from its equity and bank debt.

But although diggers were busy starting to dig the Omniyat plot, visitors to the official groundbreaking ceremony noted that the remainder of the planned 2.2 million square metre luxury district on an outcrop of land between Port Rashid and DryDocks World remained mostly empty.

Dubai Maritime City, first announced in 2003 as the “world’s largest maritime development” and expected to be fully operational by 2012, was originally designed to include one of the largest marinas in Dubai, a 121-hectare business district for maritime and offshore-related trade as well as offices, warehouses, academic buildings, hotels, homes and shops.

However, after completing a first phase of marina berths, the project was stalled by the global financial crisis as ambitious infrastructure works stopped and the company, owned by Dubai World, negotiated with sub-developers to reduce the amount of land they had bought in exchange for hefty price reductions.

“The design of the masterplan has not changed totally,” said Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of Dubai Maritime City. “What we did was to right-size certain plots. The environment [developers] bought in was different then from today. What they decided is they don’t want to pay too much any more. So we adjusted [the size of the plots] for them based on how they wanted best to suit their budgets.”

He said that the infrastructure for the industrial zone and phase B where the Omniyat scheme is located would cost about Dh250 million and would be completed “within the next two years maximum”.

In May Deyaar Development announced it had signed a deal to buy a plot of land in Dubai Maritime City and in June London-listed Damac said that it planned to build a luxury seafront high-rise building in Dubai Maritime City, including serviced hotel apartments and a leisure area.

Mr Buamim said that 19 developers were currently working up plans for projects at Dubai Maritime City, with 11 of those currently awaiting final approval from Dubai Municipality.

“This area as a whole is huge,” Mr Buamim said. “The whole thing will not be completed before 2020. You’ll be amazed at what technology is capable of. If you knew what we had planned, your hair would stand on end.”

“This scheme has been on hold since 2008, but recently we have seen more activity from developers looking to buy land there,” Matthew Green, the head of research at CBRE’s Dubai office told The National earlier this year.

“From a residential perspective the area is in a good location and likely to offer superb views. However, we would expect the original master planned development to be significantly altered to include more homes and fewer offices or for the phasing to be spread out over a much longer period.”

lbarnard@thenational.ae

Published: December 9, 2014 04:00 AM

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