The bold architecture that underscored Dubai’s real estate market before the global financial meltdown is making a comeback.
Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) unveiled plans for a US$1.4 billion Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences with a design that is set to dominate the Palm skyline and set architectural tongues wagging.
The New York-based architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, which is behind Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal, is designing the building. London-based GA Design has been appointed to do the interiors. The modernist design of glass and stacked blocks with overhangs and sky gardens is in sharp contrast to the surrounding buildings and the adjacent Atlantis hotel.
Dubai became a playground for architectural designs before the property market collapsed in 2008, which led to many practices retrenching and withdrawing from the Emirates. But the revival of the real estate sector has encouraged many architects to return to the city, which next week will host its annual Cityscape exhibition where many will be displaying their designs.
“Satisfying the increased stringency of funding criteria is a fact of life since the financial meltdown and this inevitably limits the ability to continue developing ambitious creations,” said John Podaras, a partner at Hotel Development Resources, a consultancy based in Dubai. “There are naturally exceptions especially where land has been land-banked and therefore not a funding liability or where the developers can afford to take a longer view regarding their returns against the prestige of the development itself; however, these are few and it is unlikely that we will see a return to the ambitious projects of 2007 and 2008.”
The 800-room hotel managed by Kerzner International will rise to 46 storeys on the waterfront with a pool 90 metres above the ground on the crescent of the man-made island near the existing Atlantis the Palm Resort. The project will also include 250 luxury residences and retail offerings. The property is scheduled for completion by 2017.
The announcement of Dubai’s second Atlantis comes after the US hotel operator Marriott revealed in July that it will take over the management of the first Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas from the end of the year. It will rebrand the 3,400-room property owned by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management under its Autograph Collection.
In April, ICD bought about 46 per cent of Kerzner for an undisclosed sum while Istithmar World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, owns another 25 per cent.
Dubai’s first Atlantis The Palm had the largest room inventory at 1,539 when it was overtaken by JW Marriott Marquis hotel this year with its total room count now at 1,608.
ICD is also developing the Atlantis Hotel and Resort in Sanya, China, that will be the third largest resort in the world on 60 hectares.
Besides the two Atlantis resorts, ICD is also working on Dh8 billion Deira Waterfront project, and Dh2.5bn Warsan project over 1 million square metres at Al Aweer road, with residences and a model boarding school.
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