The Mohammad Bin Rashid City - District One, a freehold community of luxury villas, sits beautifully in the heart of Dubai. Picture for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News archive

Dubai: The developer behind Dubai’s priciest villa community — where units start at Dh1,800 a square foot and extend to Dh2,700 — will push ahead with the launch of a new phase by the first quarter of 2016. The villas are priced well upwards of Dh15 million and the overall project is expected to have a value of $8 billion (Dh29.3 billion).

The upcoming releases at District One in MBR (Mohammad Bin Rashid) City include large-format four- and five-bedroom units, according to a top official at Meydan, one-half of the joint venture which also includes Sobha Developers. The intention, clearly, is to aim for those very high networth investors who are not the sort to pay heed to the general slowdown in Dubai’s real estate sales activity.

“Prices for ultra-luxury in Dubai have not reached anywhere near the levels seen in London, New York and Paris,” said Mohammad Al Kheyat, Vice-President, Commercial and Free Zone at Meydan Group. “In Knightsbridge, for a similar level of quality that we are offering at District One, the per square foot could be Dh30,000-Dh40,000. And our buyers are aware of that.

“And where else can you be assured that a car parked at a place and left for a week will remain there? That’s a factor that again counts for a lot.

“For Phase 3, we will continue to offer competitive pricing — within this ultra-luxury category — and backed by incentives based on the upfront payments.”

More than 45 design variations are being offered for the villas. For those investors making a higher upfront payments, discounts will be offered. “This is something we had experimented with at Meydan with our plot sales — now, this is being extended to the villa sales.”

Key deadlines

The first of the District One units are due for a June 2016 handover schedule. There have been two sets of launches so far, entailing 600 properties. According to Al Kheyat, the project is well on track to meet key deadlines.

“But it’s not just a residential community we are building but a full-fledged destination in itself,” said Al Kheyat. “Parts of the man-made beach [of 3.5 million square feet] too will be ready during the Phase 1 handover.” (District One’s waterbody — the Crystal Lagoons — will eventually cover 90 acres and create a 14-kilometre boardwalk that will surround it.) Future connectivity will also play into District One’s attractions. The waterbody will connect the Business Bay tower cluster and extend all the way up to the Meydan Grandstand overlooking the venue for the world’s richest horse race.

Another extension of the canal will aid the flow into the adjoining Meydan 1 master-development, which will include an upscale mall as well as one of the world’s tallest towers in the making. “There is also the Canal extension project connecting Business Bay to Jumeirah, where we are working with Meraas and RTA,” said Al Kheyat.