It's All Up For Downtown

Downtown forges ahead with existing projects and new announcements

02 Apr 2014, words by Cindy L Bailey in Neighbourhoods

It looked as if the biggest news in the Downtown area recently was Emaar's announcement in November of its new residential and hotel development, to be called The Address The BLVD and due for completion in 2015. Located close to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, the 63-storey building will comprise a 200-room five star hotel and 542 serviced apartments. That was, until a flurry of excitement greeted the same developer's unveiling of its planned extension to The Dubai Mall on the eve of National Day weekend.

Described by Ahmad Al Matrooshi, the Managing Director of Emaar Properties as a high-end "boulevard-style" retail destination, it will also feature "a modern hotel, luxury homes and serviced residences". Few details are available yet of the nature of the homes, and a date has not been set for the sales launch but it will be interesting to see if the rapid off-plan sell-out of The Address The BLVD is repeated. The latter was sold out within hours, bringing back memories of the pre-2008 boom - which may or may not be a good thing. Time will tell.

That said, this sale reflects well on the current state of the property market and positive growth trends in Dubai's real estate sector as a whole - Emaar's confidence in investing in the project was vindicated by the obvious demand from buyers.

The serviced residences, which include studios, one, two, three and four-bedroom units ranged from AED1.1m (US$299,500) for a studio to more than AED6m (US$1.6m) for a four-bedroom unit. Given the scarcity of family-sized units in Downtown and DIFC, it is good to see that the development includes some larger apartments - although these are serviced residences and the shortage of regular freehold remains.

I don't believe this development will affect the prices of apartments in the immediate vicinity or the serviced residences at The Address Downtown, which is in a great location with excellent views of the lake and Burj Khalifa. However, the new arrival could possibly affect The Address Dubai Mall negatively when completed, as both are in a similar location with similar negative and positive factors.

Further along Emaar Boulevard, adjacent to the Burj Residences complex, Burjside Boulevard will be completed in the first quarter of next year. On the resale market, these apartments start from AED2,300 - AED3,000/sq.ft, with prices governed mainly by the view. Being on the street rather than the lake side of Downtown, the location is not as good as that of Burj Residences, so I don't believe the handover of the new towers will have too much impact on values in their slightly older neighbours.