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Meydan intends to set and play by its rules

With a mega mall and ‘district’ in the portfolio, the developer is aiming both high and wide

Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Exhibitors interact with visitors near the District One project displayed at the Meydan stand.
Gulf News

Dubai: It could be the proximity to the split-second action playing out on the tracks. Meydan is just as intent on making changes to its real estate development mix if market trends point in that direction. The one thing that Meydan won’t do is not react, according to a top official.

“We don’t want to create the extra-large two-bedroom that ends up being pricey for end users and also finds no demand among investors because the sheer size will not help them on their ROI [return on investment],” said Mohammad Al Khayat, vice-president for Commercial & Freezone at Meydan Group. “In fact, in my opinion, too much supply of large two-bedrooms at Dh1,400-Dh1,500 a square foot killed demand in that segment. What Meydan will keep doing is offering the flexibility on floor space with our apartment launches, in much the same way we do on villas and mansions.”

At its massive District One project — at 45 million square feet it can’t be anything else — Meydan launched a set of apartment buildings to coincide with Cityscape Global 2017. Prices average Dh1.2 million for a 1,600 square feet unit.

Phase 1 will have 16 buildings and there will be 65 in all across all phases at District One.

“Based on what sort of demand comes through for the type of product, we could adapt it into future releases,” said Al Khayat.

Until now, District One residential launches have skewed to the super-premium, with its top-of-the-line seven- and eight-bedroom mansions weighing in at Dh90 million to Dh95 million. For those who don’t want to go all the way on the pricing, there are villas for Dh13 million to Dh14 million.

A lot many have bought them — “Of the 620 plots assigned for villas and mansions, we’ve sold 530 to date,” said Al Khayat. “And of the remaining, 37 are assigned for mansions and we could even sell them as plots, if need be.”

There is a buzz around the entire Meydan development and more so after the start of construction at its mega-mall. The Meydan One — on a 40.4 million square foot site — and Nakheel’s Deira Mall are the two super-regional malls coming through in Dubai’s retail horizon.

“We went in for a complete revision of the master plan in 2015... we had an previous version but felt that wasn’t true to our vision,” said Al Khayat. “Before we officially launched Meydan One, we went through multiple workshops trying to determine what retailers would want from a mall of our scale.

“We then had similar sessions with consumers; we went through all the strengths and gaps the other two super-regional in Dubai have. We looked at the pros and cons of everything; the aim is clear and that’s to have the best mall in the world — you heard that right — when it opens end 2019.”

What of the ski slope — all 1km of it — and other entertainment options at Meydan One?

“These are conceived as plug-ins and will be added later,” Al Khayat added. “What we will have eventually is a retail destination that remains an attraction all through the year. That means having something or the other that will overcome the challenges of being out in summer.”

Meydan’s ongoing project portfolio does not begin and end with the mall and District One. It’s got the infrastructure works to take care of at all of the other “districts” within MBR (Mohammad Bin Rashid) City. And that’s a heavy ask.

Not that it fazes Al Khayat any. “The plan is to create the centre of Dubai — what’s being offered is a one-time opportunity for those wanting to invest and live here in the future,” he added. “I’ve got the Crystal Lagoons water body and there’s no other developer in Dubai who can have it. That’s exclusive to us.”

That’s the way Meydan the developer plays it.

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