Dubai announces plan for Design District project

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum lhas announced plans for the Dubai Design District. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum lhas announced plans for the Dubai Design District. (AFP/Getty Images)

Dubai has announced plans to create a new district in the city to develop its fashion, design and luxury sectors.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said the Dubai Design District will be located close to the Business Bay area of Dubai.

The district is expected to become a full service commercial hub for design industry-related organisations, brands, and supporting enterprises within the value chain, a statement run by news agency WAM said.

It is the latest major announcement by Dubai to further develop its reputation as a global tourism and retail hub.

"It will feature a custom-built creative community that will encompass purpose-built commercial and retail facilities for established and emerging designers, design institutes, waterfront promenade, convention centre and event venues and related academic institutions," the statement added.

The district will be operated by TECOM Investments, a member of Dubai Holding.

The new district aims to build on Dubai's strengths in tourism, which is expected to double the number of visitors to 20 million by 2020, and in retail, which is estimated to grow to AED151bn in the next two years.

It is expected to be the most connected fashion district in the world, with Dubai being only 8 hours flight time from 90 percent of the countries in the world.

"UAE nationals and expatriates alike are showing a keen interest not just in consuming fashion, design, and luxury goods and services, but also in the development of their own design and creative skills," the statement said.

"One indication of this emergent trend is evidenced by rapid growth in enrolment rates on fashion and design courses at institutions in the UAE. The talents of the UAE's home-grown designers, from those who have already made their mark on the international stage to the stars of tomorrow, will be the vital spark driving this community," it added.

The new district will seek to increase the number of local and regional designers who are currently attaining international distribution and accolades.

The Middle East luxury market saw growth of 10-15 percent from 2011 to 2012, establishing the region as the 10th largest luxury goods market globally.

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Posted by: Frank

If you keep building offices , then the rental rates will reduce and that will allow businesses to move in. I agree that 50% are empty, but have you seen the rates they charge. In the 90s, Londons Canary Wharf had the same over supply but that supply soon disappears over time. Dubai need to build for the future, not just now.

Posted by: jonjon

i agree with you. but i also may add there is no need to build these zones or districts or whatever, instead the government should introduces incentives to people in that industry. such as financing with grants or favorable loans, a period set tax exemption, land for 'x' amount of time, and etc as they do in developed countries. these projects only provide a short boost to the economy and doesn't really have much long term foundation. like Red Snappa said there are some buildings in business bay and pretty sure elsewhere in the emirates that are empty. how many villas, apartments, and homes are sitting idle still from the last bust that still haven't been absorbed and yet they continue to build. government should buy empty buildings and whatnot and then rent them out to entrepreneurs either for nationals or expats. there has to be a bigger contribution to the economy than just construction.

Posted by: Red Snappa

Given the current low occupancy in Business Bay office buildings, less than 50 per cent I read in a report that came out some weeks ago, with worse yet to come, as 40 % of Dubai's new office due stock over the next three years is ALSO expected to be delivered in BB, why not buy up some existing tower projects as part of the design hub project, rather than build it all from scratch?

Custom building from scratch in the close proximity of dozens of almost empty towers, does not appear to be either an attractive social or environmental design concept.

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