First phase of Dubai’s MBR City ready in seven years

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The first phase of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid City will be completed in seven years at the earliest, according to the head of one of the developers involved in the project.

The mammoth project announced in November by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum will include the world's biggest shopping mall, more than 100 hotels, a Universal Studios franchise and a public park larger than Hyde Park.

The first phase of the project will be developed by 50/50 joint-venture of Dubai’s Meydan and Sobha Group. Known as Mohammed bin Rashid City – District One, the project will feature 1,500 luxury villas, 7km of manmade lagoons and beaches, as well as retail, leisure and sports amenities.

PNC Menon, CEO of Sobha Group, told Arabian Business on the sidelines of Wednesday’s announcement that the development had already broken ground, and would itself be split into four phases.

Construction could take as long as 12 years, with the time frame for each phase depending on residential sales of the previous phase.

“Each phase is three years. There could be an overlap depending on the [property] sales,” he said. “[The way the phases] are divided is clear-cut, there is 375 villas in each phases. We expect the whole thing to be finished in seven years, that’s the total time frame.”

Menon said that neither Sobha nor Meydan had finalised any tie-ups with third parties for the retail or leisure facilities at the site.

Meydan’s chairman and CEO, Saaed Humaid Al Tayer, said that it expected to receive about AED21bn ($5.7bn) in property receipts from the project.

He added that the developer had no plans to turn to bank lending or other financial instruments for the project and would “try to self-fund as much as possible”. Although he added that the firm could turn to some “loyal financial institutions” if required, without elaborating.

The Meydan-Sobha joint venture is the only component of Mohammed bin Rashid City to so far have been announced. There is currently no time frame or cost estimation for the project as a whole.

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