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Wed 10 Jul 2013 08:21 AM

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DMCC outlines plans for world's tallest office tower

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre chief says he has no intention of making tower postcard worthy

DMCC outlines plans for world's tallest office tower
DMCC chief Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

It will be Dubai’s latest record-breaking skyscraper but Ahmed Bin Sulayem has no intention of making the world’s tallest commercial tower postcard worthy.

For him, it will be what’s on the inside that counts. Because, he reveals, efficiency is what will generate the most money, and after all that’s what prospective tenants want.

“It won’t be designed like a dove or a sail or a flower but it will be pure, hardcore efficiency; so the design will likely be an elegant, all-cubic building,” the executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre told Arabian Business, referring to the inspiration for DMCC’s Almas Tower, the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

“It needs to make realistic physical sense. It needs to make sense for people coming and out.

“Everyone that comes in and out should be only [going to] offices. That plays a role in efficiency.”

DMCC announced last week it would build the tower as part of its 107,000 square metre expansion of the free zone at Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), in the south of Dubai.

The tower will be built at the southern side of JLT, close to Jumeirah Island and Jumeirah Park.

On Tuesday, DMCC also revealed it was on track to overtake Jebel Ali as the largest free zone in the UAE, with more than 7000 registered companies.

Bin Sulaymen said the extended business park was needed to accommodate not only more firms but the expansion plans of existing DMCC members.

While he may not be fussed about designing the prettiest building, he is insistent that it will attract attention for another reason: a new standard in efficiency, both in terms of cost and the environment.

“That’s a rating that people sometimes overlook because of architects having too much strength and pull in the matter. That won’t work with DMCC,” Bin Sulayem said.

“I’m taking this to another level of efficiency.

“It’s really to have the multi-national companies and the end-users have value for money; when they move in they’re not just getting an address in the tallest office building in the world.

“In addition to that, I would like to set a benchmark for everyone else around the GCC - not just Dubai - about towers and buildings, efficiency in maintaining the tower [and] cost-effectiveness. The more efficient, the less costly it is and that’s what I’m aiming for.

“I hope that happens for the rest of the buildings in Dubai. Build it from the inside out, not the outside in.”

The business park expansion also will include a hotel, although the height and standard have not yet been decided.

However, there will not be any residences, because, Bin Sulaymen said, they do not make financial sense.

“From my side, someone having an apartment in the expansion is not going to require a licence and registration [in the DMCC free zone] so that’s loss of revenue,” he said.

Bin Sulayem said prior to announcing plans for the tower three institutions had expressed interest in financing it. That number had risen to at least 11 “very favourable” proposals, particularly from construction firms keen to play their part in the record.

“Everyone wants to be part of a story that will live for decades,” Bin Sulayem said.

There already had been some interest in buying multiple floors of the building, despite its exact dimensions still part of the design phase.

Bin Sulayem said DMCC would give preference to multi-national corporations seeking huge chunks of the building before considering medium-sized firms.

He was confident it would quickly sell out, based on DMCC’s track record.

The DMCC Authority, which is backed by the government to establish Dubai as the global gateway for commodity trade, registered more than 1200 new businesses in the free zone during the first half of 2013.

Bin Sulayem expects there to be 8000-9000 in total by the time he looks for investors in the tallest tower.

He said the shift had been made from West to “the new Silk Road” and companies in Dubai were now “making a killing”.

“We’re building on this natural strength of Dubai at the end of the day,” he said.

“There’s a lot of ups to building the tallest office tower. It gives me personally the good conscious and comfort that we at DMCC and JLT did our utmost best to provide office space to all the multi-national companies and no one can say we built too little or you could have built more.

“Building the tallest office tower makes that statement – you’re there and had the opportunity.”

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