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Conceptualised in 2007 as an extension to Dubai Media City, which then had a mile-long renter waiting list, Tecom has steadily shaken off its overspill status to become a community in its own right.
Formerly known as Tecom Area C to distinguish it from Dubai Media City (Area A), Dubai Internet City (Area B) and Knowledge Village (Area D), it is now just Tecom — and it's thriving.
Situated in the middle of the triangle made up by Al Barsha, The Greens and Media City, Tecom is essentially a large circle lined by residential buildings, hotels and shops. Still partly under construction, the streets are dotted with cranes and several buildings are masked in dense scaffolding. However, the past 12 months have seen a surge in activity in the area, with new towers seeming to rise from nowhere. Things here are literally on the up.
One interesting trend over the past 18 months has been the sheer number of residents and businesses relocating to the area. The driver behind this is undoubtedly cost —Tecom currently offers markedly cheaper rents than its closest neighbours, such as The Greens and Media City. However, this is unlikely to last long, given Dubai's Expo 2020 win.
But there is more to the area's growing appeal than price. Tecom has developed its own swagger. Residents are generally affectionate about it, despite its lack of greenery and infamously unfinished pavements.
Marcus Nietzold has lived in a one-bedroom flat in the area for six months, having moved there from Jumeirah, and says convenience is Te-com's biggest selling point. He says, "What I really like about living here is the access you have to things you need on a daily basis. There are two good big supermarkets — Geant and Carrefour —pharmacies and dry-cleaners, really nice restaurants and cafés and nothing is more than five minutes away on foot. It just makes life easy. I think the size of the area — it's not too big — is a plus factor too."
Tecom's location means it's also convenient for getting from one end of Dubai to the other. There is a large metro station — Dubai Internet City — at the entrance to the area, and Shaikh Zayed Road, Al Khail Road and Emirates Road touch it on all sides. Additionally, a bridge that feeds out of Tecom deposits cars straight into Media City
Getting a taxi is easy too as they patrol the area around the clock. And there are several buses that pass through.
There are independent outlets including a butcher, a popular Park 8z Shop and about ten smaller grocers.
The area is also overflowing with beauty salons and nail bars. The quality of these is high and the prices are often lower than in Dubai Marina, for example.
Four main hotels — Media Rotana, Grand Millennium, Byblos and Ramee Rose —offer Tecom residents good entertainment and dining options. Restaurants such as Toshi at Grand Millennium and Prego's at Media Rotana are excellent and can compete with many of the city's high-profile eateries.
Nightlife in Tecom is also thriving due to venues such as the sparkly Chameleon Club in Byblos, and the stylish Belgian Beer Café in Grand Millennium.
But it's not all a bed of roses. A major bone of contention for residents is the state of the footpaths — or lack of them. Crossing from one side of the road to the other often means traipsing through sand and rubble. Lighting in the area is not great and there is a general feeling of missing finishing touches. Trees are also few and far between. But the reasonable rents and range of accommodation mean most are willing to overlook these few niggles. Apartment hunters can choose from a wide selection of towers offering one- to three-bedroom flats with or without balconies, studios and a few duplex apartments. Most buildings have facilities built in, such as a gym or pool.
And the towers are all fairly new so there are some really nice large apartments up for grabs.
"When you add everything up, Tecom offers good value for money," says resident Maria Williams who rents a two-bedroom apartment in the area. "You could say that it's not the most glamorous part of town, but with the facilities you have on your doorstep and the fact that Dewa bills are reasonable, I can understand why so many people are deciding to move here. Unfortunately, its popularity is sure to bump up prices."
Richard Paul, Head of Residential Valuations at Cluttons real estate agency in Dubai, agrees that low costs and good transportation options are boosting activity in the area. "The non-free zone area of Tecom has proved popular with both residential and office tenants alike over the past year, appealing to numerous demographics and nationalities," he says.
"It provides good value rental property with close proximity to a range of amenities including hotels, restaurants, schools and supermarkets. It has an excellent transport network in the form of a metro station and numerous road junctions. Cluttons manages multiple towers in Tecom and we've witnessed 95 per cent occupancy in those buildings, providing us with first-hand experience of the constant demand for stock."
And there are a significant number of new businesses in the area. The managing director of one, based in Tecom's Grosvenor Business Tower, who wished to remain anonymous, says relocating there from a Shaikh Zayed Road address has slashed costs and made operations easier.
"It has worked out well for us in terms of both saving money and location. Clients seem to find coming here more convenient."
He adds, "The area has a few downsides in terms of look, but this is gradually improving and it is just highly convenient in so many ways. The smart money is coming here, there's no doubt."
Click Tecom and find out how the area appealing to numerous demographics and nationalities
Source: Kirsty Savage, Special to PW