Burj 2020 will be completed on time: Ahmed bin Sulayem

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Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) will engage service and utility providers in the emirate by early next year to ensure timely and successful completion of Burj 2020, the world’s tallest commercial tower.

“We will be engaging with service providers such as the Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in early 2014 to ensure a successful and timely delivery of the Burj 2020 and the One JLT projects,” Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC, told Emirates 24|7.

“We are building the tower from the inside out. Efficiency is the key… it will be the most efficient high rise in the world," he asserted.

Though the intention is to deliver a highly efficient, purpose-built commercial office space for multinationals, DMCC, on the business front, is aiming to have 10,000 members by 2015. It, currently, has over 7,800 member companies.

Nearly 80,000 people work and live Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), with bin Sulayem putting the occupancy rates in the residential towers at over 90 per cent.
JLT is a waterfront community, comprising 87 residential, office and mixed-use towers.

DMCC chief also spoke on issues such as gains from Expo 2020, opening of the first park in JLT and their CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

Excerpts

-What is your future plan for DMCC?

When it comes to growing and improving the DMCC Free Zone, there is no finish line.  We have exceeded our goal of 7,200 registered companies by 2013 and today there are over 7,800 member companies. Now the UAE’s largest and fastest growing free zone, our current commitment to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is to have 10,000 DMCC members by 2015.

The Burj 2020 and surrounding business park is being constructed as a direct result of customer demand in particular from multi-nationals and multi-business entities. The availability of highly efficient, purpose built commercial office space suitable for multi-national companies is almost non-existent in this area, which causes blue chip, multi-national and multi-business entities to look elsewhere outside of Dubai.  DMCC is committed to filling this gap by all means.

In order to accommodate this growth, we have announced plans to build the 107,000 square metre DMCC Business Park and within it the world’s tallest commercial tower, the Burj 2020.  The master plan of the world’s tallest commercial tower, named the Burj 2020 is currently in its final stages. We expect to appoint architects in 2014 and break ground in 2015.

The DMCC Business Park is to comprise over 12,000 square metre retail space, low-rise commercial space and a high-end hotel, sports facilities, large park areas and multi-storey car parking.

In addition, we have also commenced work on One JLT, a “glass-box” style building in the heart of the DMCC Free Zone, a benchmark for the rest of GCC who may look at attracting large multi-national and multi-business entities. One JLT will is a key part of the free zone’s previously announced strategy to cater to the demand of large regional and multi-national companies seeking to house their entire operations in efficient, single-owner commercial space.

One JLT will set the standard globally for efficiency. The building, which will include 12 levels and a ground floor, will offer a net leasable area (NLA) of 23,400 square metres. It will also offer one of the highest ratio of parking spaces to NLA in Dubai. One JLT is part of DMCC’s strategy to provide companies with a commercial property offering unique to the Dubai marketplace, including benefits such as single ownership, contiguous commercial office space in the heart of Dubai, close to metro stations, world-class cargo facilities, ports and airports that connect to over 220 destinations.

Both projects aim to meet the increased demand for premium commercial space we have seen, particularly from large regional corporations and multi-nationals.

We will be engaging with service providers such as the Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in early 2014 to ensure a successful and timely delivery of the Burj 2020 and the One JLT projects.

We will maintain our position a the global gateway for commodities trade by continuously providing our members and industry participants with the appropriate infrastructure, products, services and regulation they require to grow, succeed and trade with confidence.

If they're successful, we're successful, Dubai is successful, and the UAE's successful.  In just over a decade, we have turned DMCC and the Jumeirah Lakes Towers development into a thriving global commodities hub for trade and enterprise.

-Nearly 80,000 people work and live in the JLT. Where do you expect that numbers to be in the next 10 years?

So much has happened in the first 10 years of DMCC, it is hard to predict what records we will shatter in the next decade. Now the UAE’s largest and fastest growing free zone, our current commitment to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai is to register 10,000 members by 2015.

The fact that we represent over 7,800 members companies and growing, there are already 80,000 people working and living in the DMCC Free Zone is proof that Jumeirah Lakes Towers is the ultimate hub for businesses.

In first six months of 2013, DMCC registered 1,270 companies, a 30 per cent rise over the same period in 2012. We have grown from 28 member companies in 2003 to over 7,800 member companies today. Occupancy rates in the residential space at Jumeirah Lakes Towers are also high at over 90 per cent.

--Dubai will be host Expo 2020. How is DMCC going to assist and benefit from this?

Immediately following the announcement that Dubai had been selected to host World Expo 2020, we named the world’s tallest commercial tower the Burj 2020 in honour of this historic milestone for the emirate and the UAE.

The Expo 2020 theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” will further drive Dubai’s position as more than just a transfer point between East and West, and support the vision of the leadership of Dubai to continue being the new economic centre of the world.

At DMCC, we always look at supply and demand to improve products and services for our members so they can succeed and trade with confidence. Going forward, we will continue to connect the world to the UAE and look forward to participate in and have our members engage with the Expo 2020.

-When will the new park open in JLT?

The lake was drained in January 2013 and the landfill works began in February 2013. The first tree was planted during Ramadan in July 2013. We expect the park to open in January.

DMCC announced its intention to convert one of its four lakes (Lake C) into a 55,000 square metre park to cater to the demand for more green space in 2012, which has been delivered.  This park will feature green areas, playgrounds, theatre areas, exercise zones with equipment and the Kobe Bryant basketball court, restaurants and picnic areas. The centre has also recently opened a pedestrian bridge connecting the North side (Dubai) and South side (Jebel Ali) of the community to make it safe and convenient to access the park by foot.

-Did the OA’s/investors show that they are against converting one lake into park?

On the contrary, the decision to build a community park was taken in response to feedback from residents, Owners Associations (OAs) and developers. As testimony to that, we did lose some residents and businesses as they complained that there are no facilities, supermarkets etc for the residents, which is no longer the case today, as JLT is now a magnet for the residents, visitors and families. We as JLT community will cater to and continue to listen to our community regardless to what others who are not a part of this community have to say. The only party that had some issue with the matter were small and medium real-estate agents and speculators who are insignificant to me personally, as JLT is for the residents, end-users and visitors and not the real estate agents who need to find a better way to get their commissions.

-Is the Uthman Ibn Affan Masjid a new idea or was it always part of the master plan?

There have always been plans to build a Masjid, the 'Uthman Ibn 'Affan (Dhun-Nurayn) Masjid will compliment several existing prayer halls in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, by providing a much needed opportunity for men and women to pray within their community and has always been an essential natural next step in improving quality of life and sense of belonging.

The timing was a result of finding the most suitable plot for the Masjid. The design of the Masjid will be inspired by Ummayad/Andalusian architecture and will accommodate over one thousand worshippers, in addition an upper level prayer area that will cater for over 300 women. The Masjid will be constructed in line with best practices for green building and sustainability standards, as well as maximum space efficiency, such as minimal if not no use of unnecessary columns, in mind.

-You donated for Red Crescent and the Masjid 'Uthman Ibn 'Affan (Dhun-Nurayn) mosque. Why is charitable work important to you?

We strongly believes in supporting humanitarian organisations and organisations that are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty through education and health awareness initiatives.

DMCC’s 2013 Corporate Social Responsibility commitment focuses on promoting safe and accessible education for children through initiatives such as DMCC’s recent Memorandum of Understanding with Dubai Cares to adopt a school in Gaza. Dubai Cares is doing admirable work for children in developing countries and we thank them for inspiring us to contribute towards their efforts.

Recently, DMCC also supported the Dubai Municipality’s ‘Your Weight in Gold’ campaign that rewarded UAE residents that participated in this initiative during Ramadan with DMCC’s UAE Gold Bullion coins. We also hosted the DMCC Kobe Bryant Health and Fitness Weekend another key initiative designed to encourage the UAE population to get fit, get active and stay healthy.

My experience in working for DMCC has provided me with the opportunity to develop both my professional and personal skills as well as receive recognition for achieving the results and successes.

I believe that these contributions are even more important in times of global uncertainty when some people tend to save more and spend less, the issues remain and in fact the need for financial support intensifies.

It is important to me to also recognise the efforts of others, which is why I made a personal donation to the Red Crescent of Dh1 million in support of their cause, as well as a personal donation of Dh1 million to Awqaf towards building the 'Uthman Ibn 'Affan (Dhun-Nurayn) Masjid in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
 

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