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Plans crystallise for lagoon at centre of Dubai

Crystal Lagoons to take up 40 acres and be largest of its kind, says Sobha chief

Image Credit: Arshad Ali, Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: Work on the Crystal Lagoons — to be the world’s largest man-made one of its kind and right in the centre of Dubai city — will be developed in phases at the District One development in Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) City.

Stretching across 7 kilometres and covering 90 acres within the 1,100-acre spread of District One, Crystal Lagoons will have a minimum width of 40 metres and a maximum depth of 2.5 metres. District One — launched in mid-2013 as the first project at MBR City — is being developed through a 50:50 joint venture between Sobha Group and Meydan.

“Rather than take up the Lagoons’ construction in the latter phase of the overall project, our choice has been to create stretches within each of the phases, with delivery starting by late 2016,” said P.N.C. Menon, Chairman of Sobha Group. “It creates a beachfront in the heart of the city with lush green landscaping and a 14-kilometre boardwalk.”

The development cost of Crystal Lagoons and that of District One has not been revealed.

Meanwhile, sales of the super-premium villas — forming the second round of release — are on the cusp of being sold out, and repeating what the earlier round had attained. A third round could be released later in the year.

The launch prices for the first release of units — in mid-2013 — were upwards of Dh12.5 million for a four-bedroom unit, while that for an eight-bedroom unit it was Dh60 million and over. (These are scheduled for handover beginning mid-2016.)

The subsequent release had a markup on the initial pricing, a strategy that the developer intends to follow on future ones too. In all there will be 1,500 villas across all phases. But 60 per cent of the total area available will be used up by green and open zones.

Luxury home buyers

On whether the developer would consider changing future releases to accommodate the tightening in sales cycles for luxury properties, Menon said: “Our customers are predominantly end-users looking for space — and quality — while still being in the centre of town. This is a location that cannot be repeated and our product offering has to reflect the premium nature of the location.

“We believe in Dubai and its continued ability to attract luxury home buyers who are either currently residing in the city or looking to move residence.”

On the project side, 90 per cent of Phase 1 villa foundations are done, while work on the infrastructure and vertical structures are ‘progressing rapidly’. There are now more than 4,000 workers on site and to be scaled up to 7,000 over the next few months.

Emaar and Meraas also have a joint venture for a massive development at MBR City. “Any villa master-development where you can be in and out of Downtown Dubai in approximately 10-15 minutes is going to have a competitive advantage,” said Adam Wisher, Head of Development Advisory and Real Estate Research at Cavendish Maxwell, the consultancy.

“The stature of developers involved and initial quality of proposals is also promising. Like any emerging area it is difficult to deliver a liveable environment from day one but with the potential to deliver 5,000 units over the next five years, the area’s critical mass will soon become established.”

Apart from District One, Sobha Group has another large-scale development — Sobha Hartland — in its portfolio, at Meydan City. But this is one that the company is mounting on its own.

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