Tecom in Dubai surprises with name change but residents fear rent hikes

Tecom has been renamed Barsha Heights, though some residents only found out when The National approached them about it.

Valiyate Mohandasan, shop manager of Blue Mart in the Damac building in the newly rebranded Al Barsha Heights, doesn’t think the name change will affect business. Antonie Robertson / The National
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DUBAI // The area known to everyone in Dubai as Tecom has changed its name but no one told its residents.

Popular for its hotels, restaurants and bars, Tecom has been renamed Barsha Heights, although some residents only found out when they were asked about the change.

Big flags with the new name were raised this week.

Valiyate Mohandasan, 58, who has been living in the area for about two years, did not know about the change of name.

“I’m just learning about this now. No one informed us that the name of the neighbourhood has changed,” he said. “I think that people, especially those who have lived here for a while, will consider the place as Tecom.”

Mr Mohandasan, the manager of Blue Mart Super Market, said he did not believe the change would affect business.

“I would say 80 per cent [of our business] are deliveries and I don’t believe it will affect us in any way,” he said. “I don’t mind the change of name, and if those responsible think it is a good idea, then we are happy and we will follow.”

But Mr Mohandasan said he thought the change could confuse people who use taxis and that most people would still refer to the area as Tecom.

The Tecom Group, the area’s developer, has also changed the name of the area across Sheikh Zayed Road from Barsha Heights to Sufouh Gardens, which it described as “one of Dubai’s best-kept secrets”.

Both areas will be managed by a new management company, Tecom Community Management (TCM), which will maintain infrastructure, lighting and security.

“The new brands will better resonate with all our stakeholders, and with the value-added services of TCM, investors will be more confident in the value of their assets,” said Fareed Al Janahi, Tecom Group’s chief commercial officer.

“I am certain that Barsha Heights and Sufouh Gardens will quickly become interwoven into the fabric of Dubai as household names.”

Real estate agents, however, had mixed views about the rebranding.

Myles Bush, chief executive of PH Real Estate, did not think it was “going to make any difference at all”.

“I don’t think people judge [an area] by its name. I think people only judge it on the facilities and amenities that are available to them,” he said.

“Just because they are renaming it doesn’t mean that it is going to become a better or worse place to live in.”

Barnaby Crompton, the chief executive of Crompton Partners, said Tecom’s new name of Barsha Heights made sense given its location and the density of towers in the area, while branding the area behind Sidra Tower as Sufouh Gardens gave it a fresh identity and a link to the neighbouring Al Sufouh community.

Francois Kassab, the chief operating officer of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, whose Grand Millennium Hotel is in the area, also approved of Tecom’s new name, arguing that it “sounds more luxurious” than Tecom.

For residents, their main concern is whether the change would affect their rent.

Wasseem Mustafa, 31, said he did not understand why the name was changed.

“I have been living here for a couple of years, and although it will remain Tecom to me and my friends, I’m okay with the name changing to Barsha Heights,” he said.

“We just don’t want this now to be an excuse for raising rents for people who have lived here for some time.”

Rani Ismail, 26, who also learnt of the change when asked about it, said he was not concerned about a rent rise but said that could be a possibility.

“To be honest, I’m not too worried about that because I just renewed my contract,” he said. “However, now that it’s called Barsha Heights, which can be considered a more bourgeois name, it’s a possibility they will increase in the future.”