A model of the new Dh394 million Shindagha Bridge.
A model of the new Dh394 million Shindagha Bridge. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: The first of 2,200 apartments being built as part of a wider revival of Deira as a real estate destination could be ready for occupation by mid next year. These buildings occupy plots on one side of the Hyatt Regency and on the opposite side of the Gold Souq.

It has been years since the Deira neighbourhood has seen this much residential supply being added at a single location. The last such supply happened when Dubai Festival City’s residential units were completed.

The developer, Ithra Dubai, confirmed that none of these units will be on freehold. (Currently, rents for studios and one-bedroom units in and around that area go for upwards of Dh32,000 and Dh40,000 plus respectively.) Apart from the apartment buildings, there will be retail outlets — about 800 are under construction — and up to eight hotels spread over 61 hectares. Together, they make up Phase 1 of the “Deira Enrichment Project” (DEP) from Ithra Dubai, a Dubai Government-owned developer. The project also includes the Gold Souq extension.

Deira enrichment project
The Deira Enrichment Project, besides residential units, will features a slew of retail outlets and as many as eight hotels spread over 61 hectares.

Currently, Dh4 billion is being spent on ongoing construction and allied costs.

Once most of the elements of Phase 1 are in place, the project could have up to 12,000 people living and working within the DEP cluster. “If we get people to spend more time within Deira itself, we would have achieved quite a bit of our aims,” said Essam Galadari, CEO. “There is a need for Deira to be seen as a full-scale destination once again.

“What we are building on is one of the last undeveloped tracts in Deira. There is another such area available to us — also of around 61 hectares — that will form Phase 2. But we will take that up only when we feel the market is ready.”

Indeed, city planners and developers are giving this side of Dubai quite a bit of attention. Nakheel’s in full swing with Deira Islands, where the towers will also be leasing apartments and not selling, while Emaar will start doing so at Mina Rashid, which encompasses more of Bur Dubai and with areas adjoining Deira.

Deira Image Credit: File photo

A sizeable area within Dubai Enrichment Project takes up a stretch along the waterfront. “As of now, 12 plots under Phase 1 are in various construction cycles,” said Galadari. “We will start taking over the plots from the contractors by year-end and then start on the leasing programme for the apartments.

The first residents should move in by mid-2020.”

The developer is also taking expressions of interest from the gold trade for the Souq extension. “We have had long conversations with the trade and taken on board everything they wanted from such an extension,” the CEO added. “We are also talking to the other authorities to help set up a one-window mechanism available for traders and retailers, whether it be in importing bullion, the gold certification, etc”

But on one Dubai landmark, Ithra Dubai plans to bring about no change. “The Hyatt Regency has been a landmark since it got built in 1979,” said Galadari. “I am engineer and I feel it’s got a certain timeless feel to it. Whatever we are building is being done either side of it.”

Deira project mixes the old with the new

One side of the Deira Enrichment Project will have the recently announced Shindaga Bridge — with its infinity themed design — on one side while on the other there will be the Al Ras public library, the oldest such in Dubai.

Another eye-catching project in the Ithra Dubai pipeline is “One Za’abeel”, a twin tower connected by a cantilever 100 metres from the ground. This super-luxury project, located next to World Trade Centre, is now headed for a September 2021 completion. “We are yet to decide what to have inside the cantilever: but one thing is guaranteed — it will be a destination by itself,” said Essam Galadari, CEO.