'I hate lakes', says Jumeirah Lakes Towers boss

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority chief says lakes may be filled in plan to revamp free zone

A sign advertises offices to lease at Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai. (Getty Images)

A sign advertises offices to lease at Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai. (Getty Images)

More of Jumeirah Lakes Towers’ manmade lakes could be filled in, the head of the authority overseeing the community has revealed.

One of the four lakes already is being transformed into a park and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority executive chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem said he would like to also get rid of the others.

“It’s no secret, I hate lakes. I love more efficiency,” he said.

“The only lake that I think will be untouchable is the one facing the Dubai Diamond Exchange [because of] the view.”

JLT, a mixed-use commercial and residential area in Dubai’s south, was designed by Nakheel, a Dubai-government owned developer. About 65,000 people live and work in the 65 completed towers, according to DMCC.

Bin Sulayem said he never liked Nakheel’s design and now that the community was under the authority of DMCC, he had plans to revamp the area.

JLT also is one of the UAE’s largest free zones and Bin Sulayem said with almost 7000 businesses now registered, artificial waterways were no longer needed to attract new investors.

“I don’t work like that. We don’t need [the lakes], the demand is here; we don’t need to do these things to attract businesses,” Bin Sulayem said.

DMCC already is replacing lake ‘C’ in the north of the community with a 55,000 square metre park that will include an amphitheatre, a sports facility, full-sized basketball court and a half-sized basketball court.

It also plans to construct a pedestrian bridge to connect the southern and northern areas of the community to increase pedestrian access.

While Bin Sulayem does not yet have any concrete plans for the other lakes he told Arabian Business he liked the idea of a mini gold souk.

“If I do fill in other lakes it will not be the same set-up that the park [will have]. It will be something else that gives value to the community ... whatever we can add that makes more value for the community without leaving and getting into traffic.

“It wouldn’t be extra towers though. That’s all I can say.”

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I would like to have tennis courts spread around the towers with flowers and greenery areas. Fountains will be a nice thing as well. But we still do not know were the Expo 2020 tower building will be. The high rise Expo 2020 will add a nice sky line and view and gold market suggest could be located in the building plus a shopping mall.

Best Regards


Posted by: Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Hello everybody,

Any idea why all the lakes in JLT have not been filled? As the title of article insinuates or misleads?

It's been a few months now, so what in the world is this article about?

Posted by: Abdellah Merzouk

Mr Ahmed,
I really appreciate the idea, JLT needed a "zone" like this, I had to take a taxi or metro to play Basketball in other courts, and I really enjoyed playing in JLT's new basketball court but these past few days the lights are off at night and we can't play, so i was wondering if its closed at night or is it a temporary situation?

Best regards, Abdellah

Posted by: Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Mr Abdellah,

Wait for the area to be completed soon, the park is huge & will have lots of other amenities, the basket ball court usage rules will be out in a few days. The night time access is important to me, especially for those who work late. Expect it to be open at night too with proper lighting.

Posted by: Wazeer

Mr Sulayem, when do you expect the park to be opened to the public, as I have seen a lot of landscaping done already.

Posted by: Ahmed Bin Sulayem


Well we are already playing basketball there in the finished court, the rest will be complete sooner than you expect.

Posted by: Brian Dominic Tellis

Dear Ahmed,

It must have been a difficult task to execute this change so hats off to standing by what you believe. My wife and I think the decision is great but perhaps the process could have been improved to ensure that residents at the grass root levels felt heard. Given the importance of greenery am sure the support would have been present.

It would be nice to have tennis courts (although its not efficient since 4 people at maximum will occupy too many square meters!) with small flowers along a jogging and cycling track for residents (more efficient since many residents can occupy it simultaneously). Toilet amenities would be useful (perhaps at a small charge to cover maintenance expenses).

Lastly, although importantly, a small opening ceremony will be in order. May I suggest that the DMCC Executive Chairman cut the ribbon! :)

Wish you the best. Thanks for listening to the residents.



Posted by: Ahmed Bin Sulayem

Dear Brian,

You are one of many who have put forward such recommendations, kindly email me at executivechairman@dmcc.ae with your top priorities for the amenities & other services you feel is required for the community if you live or work in JLT, I will do every with in my capacity to provide them if they or some of them fit well.

Kindest Regards,

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