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07.04.2013, 19:35

DWTC District "re-masterplanning"

Author: News Editor

Dubai World Trade Centre Board approves resumption of Phase I construction. Other phases to be brought into line with "evolving market dynamics."

After a three year suspension, construction work is to resume on the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) District which is situated between the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and Emirates Towers.

The announcement follows a meeting of the DWTC Board which is chaired by deputy Dubai ruler, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum on 21 March, and suggests a revival at the top end of the Emirate's commercial rental sector.

A one million square metre (10 milliion sq ft) hotel, office, residential apartment and retail development is now scheduled for completion between 2016 and 2018. Dubbed "Phase I" of the project, the mixed-use complex has been designed by British architectural practice, Hopkins Architects, who describe it as an "unique human-scaled urban environment."

© Hopkins Architects
DWTC's Board expects work to start in the third quarter of 2013, a date that may be prompted by recent government of Dubai data suggesting occupancy levels in the Central Business District (the area in the immediate vicinity of the new development) have reached 85 per cent.

Yet despite this, the Central Business District accounts for only 13 per cent of the Emirate's total office space, with vacancy levels in the city's other districts reported widely to be between 40 and 50 per cent. So what other factors might be influencing DWTC's announcement?

Strata ownership, a form of multiple ownership in which different floors of a buildng are owned by different organisations or indviduals, has long been identified as a barrier to the expansion of Dubai's commercial rental sector, and one that impacts disproportionately on large companies which may be unwilling to negotiate with separate parties or fear multiple ownership of a facility will impact service delivery.

Indeed in his press statement DWTC Chief Executive Officer, Helal Saeed Almarri, referred candidly to the development's future tenants including "large multinational corporations looking to consolidate and companies who are outgrowing their existing offices."

The future of other buildings originally envisaged within the masterplan is less certain. In a discussion of current market dynamics, Almarri referred to the adoption of a new, "multi-phased" approach that will include "re-masterdeveloping" other parts of the site.

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