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Sat 20 Jul 2013 09:50 AM

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Filling in lakes could improve JLT: property analysts

Replacing the lakes with community facilities would enhance area but not affect prices

Filling in lakes could improve JLT: property analysts
The executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed bin Sulayem, has said he would like to fill in all of the four manmade lakes and build other amenities.

Replacing some of the lakes in Jumeirah Lakes Towers with community facilities would improve the living environment but would be unlikely to impact on property prices, according to real estate analysts.

The executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ahmed bin Sulayem, has said he would like to fill in all of the four manmade lakes and build other amenities.

‘Lake C’, in the northern end of JLT, already has been filled in and a 55,000 square metre park including an amphitheatre and basketball court are due to be completed there by the end of the year.

Bin Sulayem announced this week part of ‘Lake A’, in between clusters A, B and M, also would be replaced with a mosque and car park.

Head of UAE research and consultancy at CBRE Matthew Green said replacing all or some of the lakes with community facilities would improve the area in the long run, although some residents and investors may be “disgruntled” during the construction period.

“Having community facilities is going to be a far more practical use of the land area than the current lakes,” Green said.

“If you’re an investor though, maybe you’ve bought on the premise that you’ll be having a lake view when you’ll have a park view instead, [although] I don’t think investors would differentiate too much between those. I wouldn’t expect to see too much fluctuation among buyers [before and after the lakes are filled in].”

Green said a park and running track in Jumeirah had proven popular and most residents expected such facilities, which don’t presently exist in JLT.

“I think over all it’s a positive move [but] there will maybe still be some disgruntled residents [because] their current view will be turned into something else and the construction you’ll have while they develop that,” he said.

“From a developer point of view, as well, it’ll probably help [DMCC] manage running and maintaining the lakes – they’re probably quite costly for them and without really receiving any benefit.

“From their point of view, they could look at ways of creating additional revenue from the park area.”

Priyesh Patel from Dubai-based agency Aston Pearl Real Estate said recent investors had welcomed the idea of filling in the lakes.

“It’s really personal preference,” Patel said. “A few of the buyers who’ve bought [JLT properties] from us recently have said there would be more outdoor space and they like the idea; we’ve had a positive response.

“I’m not saying sales have shot up - they haven’t bought for that reason; [they’ve bought because] JLT is still well priced.

“I’m sure it’ll have a good impact over the long-term when everything is done.

“But with Jumeirah Lakes Towers being the name, it should have some lakes in there.”

Spokesperson for property website, Ann Boothello, said potential changes to property value would depend on what replaced the lakes.

“When an apartment has a lake view it's always deemed as a plus, adding value to these units. However, if the lakes are not treated and maintained, then it will surely prove detrimental in the long-run,” she said.

Boothello said adding a school, hospital, entertainment centre or sporting facilities would make JLT more self-sufficient but already problematic traffic concerns also had to be taken into consideration.

“Self-contained communities tend to maintain healthy property values,” she said. “If the economy takes a hit, the prices may drop, but less in comparison to other less equipped communities and eventually recover faster than others.

“However should they plan to replace one or two of the lakes with anything that is expected to lure more people to the community, they need to think of easy access to and from these spots if they truly want to add value to the community and ensure price levels are not affected.

“Residents and JLT property owners are highly unlikely to appreciate anything that further agitates traffic flow. Ensuring that the community comprises of all necessities such as schools, hospitals, and supermarkets creates convenience if the road infrastructure is in place. So if it is well-planned it could have a positive impact.

“If not, prices could see a drop and become less attractive as a residential community, similar to the likes of Jumeirah Beach Residence.” 

During an interview with Arabian Business last week, Bin Sulayem said it was unlikely all of the lakes would be filled in.

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

He had earlier told a press conference, “It’s no secret, I hate lakes. I love more efficiency.”

Responding to criticism on Arabian Business, Bin Sulayem insisted he would consult the community before changing any more of the lakes.

He is yet to reveal details of the new mosque, with the announcement brought forward following the reports about filling in the lakes.

In a statement on Wednesday he said it would cater for 1000 worshippers, including 300 women in a separate, raised platform, and it would be named after Uthman Ibn 'Affan, one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

maurizio-t 6 years ago

dont leave the water

Dominic Calvert 6 years ago

Why not build underground public car parking rather than fill them in, and a park on top? They did this successfully in the Greens.

Alex 6 years ago

I wonder if they will be renamed to jumeira commodities towers. Maybe the lakes in Business bay, the Lakes or jumeira islands could be replaced as well. I guess there are commodities that can be squeezed in there. Don't ruin the charm of this place. The lakes is what makes JLT different. I think I speak for a lot of JLT residents when I say it is better to have a different landscape than hospitals or schools outside our building. Water is a very important element. I believe all communities would appreciate some places like this, with green landscape. Dubai has enough areas with tons of steel and concrete without anything to balance it. Don't make this nice are another claustrophobic building jungle.
As for the maintenance excuse, it's just to lame. Anything that might replace the lakes will require several times more maintenance, unless it is a sand pit...

ahmed Bin Sulayem 6 years ago

Very interesting idea Dominic, do you live in JLT? if you do lets discuss this my twitter account is @ahmedbinsulayem

all the best

ahmed Bin Sulayem 6 years ago

Aside from the Park & the Uthman Ibn Affan Mosque JLT will still have 3 Lakes which we have not intention of touching, the focus will be on maintaing the JLT community, we are awarding the maintenance contract of the lakes this week to one 3 new & advanced companies. If there was any intention of filling in any more Lakes why would we be entertaining those steps with a new contractor to manage the current 3 lakes in JLT?

In the future if the community wants more diversity we'll listen & respond if it makes sense.

Ramadan Kareem

Sajan Bhatia 6 years ago

Filling in the lakes would destroy the view and values of the community.

Moreover the presence of the lake and the breeze coming over it cools down the numerous walkers doing their morning and evening walks / jogs / strolls.

Creating more green spaces may reduce the maintenance cost of the DMCC but it would also give the dog walkers more place to mess around the place with dog poo.

Create underground parkings, if needed.This could be done on the unfinished project / non started project sites.

Please don't mess around with the existing arrangements for small monetary gains.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem 6 years ago

Just to keep you in touch with what really happens in JLT this is my statement in regards to what progresses in the JLT community now & in the future "My personal view is that lakes are inefficient and do not bring value. This does not mean that we will fill in all of the lakes, but it does mean we will listen to the community about what makes sense. Even if some in the media think I shouldn't listen to the JLT community then I'm afraid I will keep on disappointing them."

Ahmed Bin Sulayem 6 years ago

Sajan your comments do not even come close to reflecting the reality of JLT, after all the amenities, park, Mosque etc. The JLT will still have the 3 Lakes. This article that seems to concern you is based on property annalists who are looking at the matter & see what effect of filling the lakes would be if you read carefully they clearly state there will be no effect & if there is it would improve the community. Our job is to listen to the community, if what we hear makes sense we will continue to enhance JLT. As I stated earlier after all the developments & adding more new free car parks twice between clusters & other ways the 3 Lakes are still there. Lake C is what was converged due to over whelming demand from the community. Part of Lake A for the Mosque.

With that JLT still has 3 Lakes.

We don't mess around, listening & catering to the needs of the JLT community is not messing around, with what I just shared with you shows that it's clearly not for small monetary gains.

Ray Chaudhuri 6 years ago

I like Dominic Calvert's idea of underground parking with park & some outdoor entertainment facilities on the surface. What would be nice is to have "feeders" (buggies) from the parking area to various towers in that cluster range. We should also look at the using the "Cluster K" which has been abandoned by Messrs Al Attar after 8 years of having holes on the ground except the basement parking being completed by DMCC (whcih is closed). Owners Associations from various towers have met under a informal "association" called JLTOA. Ahmed is a dynamic person and open to ideas, so it could be good for OA representatives to meet frequently on various subjects, like they did for the parking barriers. There is no better feedback than those from the residents & users. I am not to happy with the results of the parking barriers as it is causing severe congestion on the main entrance podium of very many towers. Free parking should be restricted to 2 hours max. Regards - Ray- FTOA