By David Ingham
It’s raining infrastructure projects in Dubai. Dubai Pearl is the city’s latest big money real estate development.
Omnix Group intends to turn 10 million square feet of land between Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone and the Palm Island into a high tech residential area. The Dhs3 billion ‘Dubai Pearl’ will be the largest privately owned project in the UAE and one of the largest construction projects in the world, according to Omnix. Completion is scheduled for May 2006.“Dubai Pearl is a new downtown concept which has everything needed for a self-contained community,” said Jamal Abu Issa, chairman of Omnix Group. “With cultural and heritage centres to hotels, conference halls and trade centres, Dubai Pearl accommodates a complete micro-urban environment.”The precise details of the project make for mouth watering reading.There will over 2000 residential units, plugged into a broadband network that offers high speed internet services, according to Omnix. Each residence will have “magnificent views of ‘New Dubai’,” says Waleed Ghafari, chief operating officer of Omnix.Visitors are promised a choice of more than 1,500 rooms in one five star and two four star hotels. The 240 metre high, five star hotel will be managed by Movenpick Group and offer 720 rooms, more than the 674 room Grand Hyatt, Dubai’s largest existing hotel by room number.Commercial properties will cover 1.2 million square feet and the Pearl’s community facilities will include a theatre and an 1,800 seat opera house. The entire development will have a ‘lush, exquisitely designed landscape and beautiful pedestrian walkways.’Another key project within the Pearl will be Pearl Techno World, described as a year round showcase of the latest and best technology from the biggest names in the world.25,000 people are expected to move within and around Dubai Pearl on a daily basis, helped by many kilometres of new road. Parking space is also being created to accommodate more than 13,000 vehicles.Ahmed Bin Byat, director general of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), held up the development as an another example of successful public-private partnership in Dubai.“Dubai Pearl is the next step in the development of the Emirate and reflects the vision of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence to develop Dubai into one of the best places in the world to live and work. It is yet another example of how the public and private sectors in Dubai work together in harmony,” Bin Byat said.Ghafari told Gulf News that some major investors from outside the UAE are involved in the project. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns several Movenpick properties in the Middle East, will be involved with the five star hotel, but Ghafari would not confirm whether he was an investor in the wider project.Around 60% of the capital required to build Dubai Pearl will be provided by banks and other financial institutions.