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''Old Dubai'' still has what it takes to create a landmark real estate development. A Dh4 billion mixed-use project spread across 8 million square feet is gradually taking shape right on the edge of Dubai Creek and between Maktoum Bridge and Floating Bridge. Hotels will take up the dominant portion of the high-rises that will form within this massive canvas.
And the developer — Dubai International Real Estate (DIRE) — did not have to think too much over naming the project. ''The 'Jewel of the Creek' occupies the last stretch of undeveloped land on the Creek on the Deira side of town,'' said Imad W. Elias, CEO of Roda Hotels, which is the hospitality arm of DIRE. ''And the Dh4 billion is just the overall development value or the project — the value of the land alone, as such, is priceless. And this project with its many elements will be reviving this part of the city.''
In the first phase, which is already at an advanced stage, the super-infrastructure for the entire development is being put in place. This, according to the developer, will make it easier to build up the remaining phases. These are to be delivered from August 2017 onwards and right through to the end of the decade. (A joint venture firm called KCKP is the architect.)
Upscale restaurants and retail
The second phase will create an ''island'' and feature a high-end hotel, high-rises for serviced apartments, dedicated areas for upscale restaurants and retail, and a 65-berth marina. ''We are bringing the Creek into the development for the artificial island,'' said Elias. ''It was intentional that Jewel of the Creek is to have a hospitality theme to it, and will create 5,000 rooms across the entire development.
''These hotels, which will be managed by Roda, will target a five-star clientele, the longer stay guests, the Arab families who prefer to put up in non-alcohol serving properties, the young and trendy, and even those who prefer affordable options.
''That's why we will have one hotel where rooms can be on hand for a flat $100 (Dh367) a night throughout the year. This particular hotel will be operated by a skeleton crew.
''There is one factor that keep recurring in Dubai's hospitality sector — that the city is still short of rooms. The Jewel of the Creek will go some way towards correcting that.''
Some of the high-rises will be exclusively for residential and office requirements. The core areas of Deira have not had too many of these in recent years. It is only now with the Nakheel-helmed Deira Islands master-development and DIRE's Jewel of the Creek that the imbalance is being addressed.
It was in 2007 that DIRE decided on going ahead with a signature project at that location.
And through the crisis years of 2009-11, the developer was steadfast in building up the infrastructure. ''We continued with the project because we believe that irrespective of any crisis, Dubai has an assured future,'' said Elias. ''On the other side of town, the Dubai Canal is transforming how the city will look in the not-too-distant future.
''And, in the older part of the city, the Jewel of the Creek is doing the same job.''
All of the offices, expected to be around 1,000 units, and the residential apartments, between 1,200 to 1,500 units, will be only for leasing. On the retail side, 80 per cent will be given over to F&B options and the balance for fashion choices and the like.
''There are still many facets that are being looked into by the internal teams and our consultants,'' said Elias. ''From a marketing exposure perspective, the first big one will come at the Arabian Travel Market in May next.''
Factbox: The many 'nuggets' making up Jewel of the Creek
* Talk about supersized swimming pools. The 'Jewel of the Creek' will have an 800-metre long and around 30-metre wide 'swimming pool' and with a 'beach' fronting it. All this, right in the middle of the city. ''The earlier plan was both ends to connect with the Creek... but because of the delay to the Floating Bridge, we decided to close both ends and make a swimming pool,'' said Imad W. Elias, CEO of Roda Hotels.
* The master-development will also host the 'Dubai Dome', conceived as an upscale meetings and exhibition venue and including a music hall.
* The first properties that are to be delivered at Jewel of the Creek will be a five-star hotel with 438 rooms, four residential high-rises with 756 apartments, a lagoon with a 'beach', and the 65-berth marina. This phase will open in August 2017.
Get a glimpse of the twin towers to rise along Dubai Creek
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com