Meydan Sobha City signals return of mega projects to Dubai

Spread over 8m square feet with 280 villas, 13 high-rises, entertainment, retail complex and schools

Spread across 8 million square feet of land in Meydan City, and comprising 280 villas, 13 high-rises, garden apartments, a shopping mall, hotels, retail complex and international schools, "Sobha City" is all set to hog the limelight Cityscape Global 2012.

The multi-billion-dollar project, located adjacent to Meydan Godolphin Parks situated along Al Khail Road, will be developed by India's Sobha Group and will by far be the largest project to be launched in Dubai in the last four years. Sobha City is located just 4 kilometres from Burj Khalifa and is 15 minutes drive from Dubai Airport.

"We will start construction of infrastructure and villas by early next year, but the project launch will possibly be a little later," Ajay Rajendran, Vice-Chairman, Sobha Group, told Emirates 24|7.

In April, Jones Lang LaSalle said the Dubai residential real estate market appears to have bottomed out as prices are now at rates similar to early 2008 levels with the villa market clearly outperforming the apartment segment.

"We have just 280 villas to sell. it's a very small number compared to large villa communities built here," Rajendran says, adding, "the market seems to be very strong at the moment with increasing number of end-users and hence we are confident of selling due to our project's location (Al Khail Road) and the superior quality that we are known to deliver."

Situated approximately four kilometres from Dubai Creek, Meydan City features the Meydan Free Zone and four distinct sub-districts - the Meydan Racecourse, Meydan Metropolis, Meydan Horizons and Meydan Godolphin Parks.

Although Ranjendran did not reveal the overall cost, he hopes to complete the entire project in a phased manner over the next 10 years.

"The costs are substantial, but the important thing is to time the project to the needs of the city. We don't want to add to the imbalance that we are currently witnessing. It is essential for us to bring it to the market only when the demand is there."

And to ensure that the project gets completed on time, Sobha Group has ensured credit lines are in place before the project's official launch.

"We have tied up with international banks. They are supporting us because they are aware of our track record. They are comfortable as they know 'we are serious players'."

In July, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Dubai residential property market will benefit the most as the population is likely to more than double over the next decade with more jobs being created.

"Dubai's active population should grow by 6.1 per cent on average over the next eight years, faster than residential supply, which is set to grow by 4.9 per cent over the next two years - this is critical in terms of delivery units," the bank said.

Rajendran echoes the same view. He believes the market here needs at least 15,000 to 20,000 new units every year in order to meet the needs of growing population.

Sobha Group was established by PNC Menon, the group chairman, in 1995.

The company has 38 residential projects, totaling 23.50 million square feet and 42 ongoing contractual projects, totaling 9.22 million square feet in various stages of construction. In Dubai, Sobha has developed four projects, three commercial and one residential.

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