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Dubai will expand its Metro network to 110km by 2020 and to a whopping 421km by 2030. This will result in land and property price appreciation along the route of the planned Metro lines and especially around the stations. The move is expected to stimulate development beyond the city's established districts, while creating new hot spots across the emirate.
The first phase of the expansion will extend the Red line from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the site of the upcoming World Expo near Al Maktoum International Airport. Dubbed Route 2020, the project will stretch over about 15km, of which 11km will be elevated and 4km underground.
The extended line includes seven stations and will lead across densely populated areas popular with expats such as The Gardens, Dubai Investments Park (DIP), Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan and Jumeirah Golf Estates. These communities are inhabited by about 240,000 residents, of which 90,000 live in DIP and 85,000 in Discovery Gardens.
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said during the launch that Route 2020 will serve current and future projects and will ease road congestion. The extension will also provide nearby Metro access for residents of Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Islands and Jumeirah Village Triangle, some of the biggest and fastest growing communities of developer Nakheel.
''The Dubai Metro extension is a major boost for these communities and the wider area known as New Dubai,'' Al Tayer said in a statement, adding that ''the value of investors' properties will be enhanced''.
Dubai-based consultancy ValuStrat expects that upon commencement of train services on the new route, sales values of apartments and houses within a 10-minute walking distance of some of the new metro stops ''could potentially have increased by a premium of 10-15 per cent compared to other parts of the community located further from the stations as purchasers seek to identify investment areas for possible future gains''.
ValuStrat's Research Manager, Haider Tuaima, also says that rental prices of property near the metro extension are also likely to rise — albeit at a later stage — as tenants generally only pay higher rents once a new rail service is operational. This assumption is based on research ValuStrat undertook after the Jumeirah Lakes Towers Metro stations opened, which revealed prices went up by 10-20 per cent for rental properties and in some cases more than double for units on sale. In turn, inhabitants near Metro stations get to save more money on the various costs of using a car, such as Salik, parking and maintenance fees.
Route 2020 is, however, only the first step. On the eastern end of the line, a 3.5km, one-station extension from Rashidiya to Mirdif City Centre has been approved, taking the Metro closer to around 30,500 residents. The RTA is also studying a proposal to extend this further south to Al Warqa'a, an area that is experiencing considerable growth due to the expansion of International City and other real estate projects.
For the Green Line, plans include an extension from the current southern final stop in Jadaf/Dubai Creek to Festival City and then across The Lagoon, where it will have two stations. It will then proceed to the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area, where it will also have two stations, and connect to International City with three stations. It will have one station in Dubai Silicon Oasis and two in Academic City. Along this planned line, International City is the most populated community with more than 200,000 inhabitants. However, for value investors it is more interesting that the upcoming The Lagoons and Dubai Creek Harbour developments will have two Metro stations.
Four additional Metro lines are in the pipeline: Purple, Blue, Gold and Pink. At this point, route planning has not been finalised and is subject to change, but a few potential property hot spots within the network can be identified.
As per the planning, the Gold and Purple lines will play an important role in connecting more remote communities and will also stimulate new development for Dubai. The Purple line is meant to run between Dubai International Airport and the new Al Maktoum International Airport along Al Khail Road, bringing constant congestion on this important thoroughfare to an end. It will have about eight stations along its route, some with airport check-in facilities.
The Gold line is planned to link the Dubai Marina area, Arabian Ranches and Deira. Both are due to open by 2025 and will likely meet in Meydan, which could emerge as a new transport hub for central Dubai. It will also serve the area where the recently announced 3.67-million-sq-m Meydan One development is located, between the Meydan racetrack and Al Khail Road and part of the sprawling Mohammad Bin Rashid City.
The joint station of the Purple and Gold lines in Meydan could lead to the construction of a central terminal between the city's two airports, similar to such city terminals in the US that serve as urban check-in facilities and infrastructure hubs. The station is also being considered to be part of Etihad Rail, according to Etihad Rail CEO Faris Al Mazrouei, who said there are plans for four train stations in Dubai — Jebel Ali Port, World Expo site, Dubailand and Meydan. For the latter option, Etihad Rail is in close cooperation with the RTA, Al Mazrouei has said in reports. The connection could branch off from Etihad rail at Arabian Ranches and lead to Meydan, eventually creating a new development axis for the city.
This means property investors who are eyeing locations close to Metro stations and also have a long-term investment horizon should take a close look at the Meydan One development, which is not sparing with superlatives. It will boast the world's tallest residential tower, the largest dancing fountain and longest indoor ski slope, aside from the world's largest indoor gymnasium, the world's highest observation deck at 655m, a mega shopping centre, a navigable canal, bicycle trails and beach.
''We have committed to developing a multi-use destination which goes beyond expectations and will cater to every kind of person living and working here, as well as those who travel from around the world to visit,'' said Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman of Meydan Group, during the launch of Meydan One, a remark that indicates that the development will indeed be a massive push for the Metro and vice versa. The first phase of the development is scheduled for completion before 2020, five years ahead of the opening of the two new Metro lines.
A central Meydan station could also be served by another future branch extension of the Green line, which could connect to the Lagoons/Ras Al Khor area. This could easily lead to the emergence of Meydan station as the largest Metro hub in Dubai in the future.
Blue and Pink lines
The Blue line is planned to connect Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport, but run parallel to the Purple line farther south along Emirates Road. At its eastern end, it could meet with the extended Red line in Al Warqa'a and with a possible short extension of the Green line somewhere in the Muhaisnah/Al Mizhar area, where there are large labour accommodations, and even into Sharjah, giving a boost to the surrounding areas lacking in public transport.
There are also plans for the Pink line, which would run from Al Sufouh near Palm Jumeirah islands along Umm Suqeim Road, connecting the Mall of the Emirates with Al Barsha and Al Quoz, as well as Dubiotech, Dubai Motor City and Arabian Ranches. The Pink line would meet the Purple, Blue and Gold lines, creating new Metro hubs at the Mall of The Emirates, Al Khail roundabout, Arabian Ranches and Layan Community. The two latter lines, Blue and Purple, are due for completion by 2030.
Dubai Metro's extension plan in numbers
• Current Dubai Metro network: 75km and 47 stations
• 2020: additional 24km and 12 stations
• 2025: additional 91km and 58 stations
• 2030: additional 221km and 69 stations
• Total: 421km and 197 stations served by six Metro lines - Red, Green, Purple, Gold, Blue and Pink. The plan includes the full integration of Dubai Tram into the network.
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Source: Arno Maierbrugger, Special to Property Weekly