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20 April 2024

DMCC plans to spend $1bn on its JLT infrastructure

Bryan Wilson says Dubai has once again become a developer's market. (FILE)

By Joseph George

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) said its expenditure on infrastructure development at the Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) will amount to Dh1 billion.

Infrastructure development at the project is progressing well and work on the remaining three lakes will be complete by 2010.

A senior DMCC official also told Emirates Business that they have signed a Dh150 million landscaping agreement with Al Bayader Irrigation and Contracting Company for the Jumeirah Lake Towers development.

Bryan Wilson, one of the Executive Directors at DMCC, said the two-year contract will involve development of landscaping for the project and work will start within weeks.

"The amount being spent on the infrastructure development within the JLT will come up to Dh1bn. Including all the towers, the project will be a Dh20bn development," said Wilson.

JLT covers about 1.35 million square metres, including the land areas and lakes and is 2.85 km long and 0.55 km in width.

DMCC has already completed work on internal roads stretching to 20km.

"We have also got the western parallel road being constructed by the RTA. When finished, the transportation requirement within the development will be fully met," he said.

Recently, the DMCC set up a joint venture with Emcor.

As a result Concordia, the new company, will provide facilities and property management services to the JLT community and the individual towers at the project.

"Right now the sewerage goes to the Gardens STP located besides the Ibn Battuta Mall. But we will ultimately be transferring it to the new 220,000 cubic-metre-a-day sewage system being built for Palm Water for Jumeirah Golf Estates when it is complete," he said.

The sewage treatment plant will use membrane biological reactor (MBR) technology, making it one of the largest units of its type in the world. As a master developer, the DMCC is committed to providing adequate infrastructure facilities for all of JLT. "All the roads DMCC is building are complete and all services like the sewerage, water and drainage are in place. We are currently working on the lakes. We filled the first of the four lakes in December 2008," said Wilson.

"About 40 per cent work on the other three lakes is complete. Our programme is to complete the other three lakes by the end of the year. Logistically, it is a bit challenging because we need the towers to be up so we can finish the lake wall that goes around the towers. That is the balancing act we have to do. All the towers are completed around the Lake C," said Wilson.

"That's going to create some challenges to contractors as their access is going to be limited. Right now they are using the area of the lake to store materials and put up their temporary site office," he said. The four lakes have been named Almas East and Almas West, Elucio and Allure.

One of the major challenges being faced by the developer is managing a development that is partly a community and partly a construction site.

"We are trying to maintain that balance. We are not allowing construction work to continue at night to ensure that the residents are not disturbed," said Wilson.

According to Wilson, the development will be fully ready by 2011.

While 23 of the 87 towers are already occupied, 50 towers will be completed by end-2009, and 70 towers by 2010. The remaining 17 towers will be ready by 2011. Wilson said work on all but two towers at the JLT have commenced.

"Plots for two towers were sold recently and the developers are still assessing the situation," said Wilson.

DMCC owns three buildings with one of them – the Al Mas Tower – already occupied. The other buildings owned by DMCC are are AU and AG – named after the chemical symbols for gold and silver.

"The Gold Tower should be finished by the end of March and the Silver Tower by the end of April.

While the construction contract for the Al Mas Towers was issued to a joint venture between ACC and a Japanese construction firm Taisei, AU and AG is being built by Bin Belaila Baytur.

"Originally when the project was planned in 2003, the whole of JLT was scheduled for completion by end-2008 and early-2009.

"But as we all know there were a series of issues concerning shortage of labour and materials. The deadline has been further extended by two years and we are expecting everything to be in place by 2011," said Wilson.

He added that no development within the project has been affected because of the slowdown of economy.

"We have been monitoring the site to see if there has been any changes. I have had my guys go out and inspect the private towers to see if they have been abandoned or stopped. Everything seems to be okay. They are all committed to finishing their projects," he added.

According to him a study is being conducted to assess the reducing cost of construction. "We are investigating the fall in prices. We are in the process of renegotiating all our contracts.

"Two years ago, Dubai was a very competitive market. It was very difficult to find contractors and prices of construction materials were going up drastically.

"Contractors were looking for some help from us and we agreed to give in and bear the burden of escalating cost. We also renegotiated the prices and they received about 25 per cent to 30 per cent increase," said Wilson.

Wilson said the situation has totally changed and Dubai has once again become a developer's market.

"Prices are falling and now it is our turn to ask for a cut in prices," he added.