Creating new attractions within Dubai's landscape

Creating new attractions within Dubai's landscapeImage Credit: Virendra Saklani,

Even as Dubai creates new residential magnets, its developers are intent on giving extensive makeovers to existing locations. And where they have the space and flexibility, they are just as likely to stretch the possibilities of an older part of town to connect with the new.

Tecom Investments' recently launched Villa Lantana ticks the second box. It takes a generous spread of land in Al Barsha North for an upscale community that will be home to more than 400 villas. Sales were launched recently with enough variations on offer — 11 formats and as many as 17 elevations — for all the units, which have a starting price of Dh2.3 million.

More than 50 per cent of the units have been sold in the three weeks since the release. On the construction side, on-site dredging and the deep infrastructure parts have been done.

''We did not test the market with a few units and then come out with more and at a higher price,'' said Badr Al Gergawi, CEO for Development and Planning at Tecom Investments. ''No, it had to be all units and with the same set of prices. With Lantana, our intention is clearly to create the centre of New Dubai.''

Tecom Investments' track record is that of creating business parks with a residential element to it. With Lantana it is only offering residential. ''That does not mean we are moving away from our comfort zone — as a developer we do not want to be known as the creator of commercial spaces alone,'' said Gergawi.

The Lantana community — to be complete late next year — even have a future marker for their location — the headquarters of Dubiotech with its quite funky design cannot be easily missed.

Meanwhile, there is quite a buzz building up over the Dubai Design District (d3) now that the master plan has been done and released. Its display at Cityscape had no trouble in attracting a lot of attention.

''It took more than a year after the first announcement of d3 for us to be ready with the master plan and we spent that time in sourcing feedback from the people this is meant for — the creative types,'' said Al Gergawi.

''It is not meant to be just another retail-specific location. And that's why we have added the hotel (4,000 keys), residential and commercial components. And d3 is certainly not meant to cater to just one age group — it will cover the whole spectrum.''

For the overall project, the developer is looking at a 10-year, multi-phase frame. Phase One is already making headway, and will create 2 million square feet of office space to be ready by Q1-2015.

On the possible pricing for the offices, Al Gergawi declined to get specifics. ''Rather than try to push our offering onto the market, our focus is on a ''pull'' strategy that takes into account the needs of our audience and then match a product accordingly. We recognise the very specific needs of our diverse customer base, from entrepreneurs to more established businesses, (and) operate a flexible pricing structure to suit.''

Read about the Blueprint for Design District set for unveiling in Dubai

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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