■ What is the City of Arabia?
This a multi-billion dollar investment in a new suburb of Dubai in the heart of Dubailand. The City of Arabia will, when completed, provide homes for over 34,000 residents, and include one of the largest Malls in the world, the Mall of Arabia, and an internationally renowned dinosaur theme-park, the Restless Planet. It will be a complete community with schools, clinics, mosques, convenience stores and the full range of urban services.
■ What is Dubailand?
Dubailand is a 4bn sq ft development on a stretch of land lying around 10kms from the coast of the Gulf, straddling Emirates Road, and a similar distance from the end of the Dubai Creek. It will include up to 45 projects, offering a wide range of leisure attractions, sporting facilities and cultural entertainment, making it the largest combined leisure development in the world.
■ Is Dubai trying to do too much by launching so many new developments?
This question has been asked repeatedly about Dubai since the 1960s. All indications are that Dubai will maintain her rapid rate of growth. Many factors are in Dubai's favour: the demographics of the region, with a young national population, and a large influx of immigrants; the wealth of the region, with historically high oil prices, and a boom in regional trade; the geography, with Dubai lying on the southern shore of the Gulf, surrounded by rich oil-producing neighbours; and not least, Dubai's own liberal, open-door commercial policies, which continue to attract immigrants and capital from around the world. The UAE remains a stable, tolerant and hugely prosperous society. As an indication of the demand which Dubai is creating, there continues to be a severe shortage of quality commercial accommodation in the Emirate, and there is huge interest in the City of Arabia as a new business destination..
■ What does The City of Arabia mean?
The name was chosen to reflect the development's position in the centre of Dubailand. It is the key residential area at the heart of the region's largest leisure, sport, entertainment and retail complex, aimed at drawing visitors from all over the Middle East. Many of the attractions embody the cultural traditions of the Gulf Region and of the wider Arab World.
■ Where is the City of Arabia?
It lies on the south side of Emirates Road, near the Global Village and the Aqua Park, and not far from the head of the Dubai Creek.
■ Who is behind the Dubailand concept?
The driving force behind the Dubailand project is HH Gen. Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Federal Minister of Defence. He announced it two years ago, since when more than forty projects have been identified as components of Dubailand, which will be one of the largest groups of theme-parks and leisure facilities in the world, and one of the signature features of Dubai, like Disneyland in the US. Dubailand is a key part of HH Shaikh Mohammed's vision of Dubai as a world-class tourist resort and business destination.
■ Who is the Developer?
The Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group are the owners and developers of the City of Arabia site. They are in close liaison with the Dubai Tourism Development Company, which as part of Dubai Holding, are the overall managers and coordinators of the Dubailand project. The CEO of Dubai Holding is Mohammed Gergawi, who sits in the Executive Office of HH Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
■ What are the Special Features of The City of Arabia?
The most striking features of the City are: the huge Mall of Arabia, with over 1000 retail outlets, and a wide range of attractions, designed to make it a renowned shopping resort; the Restless Planet dinosaur theme-park, which is being developed in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of London, with the aim of blending a little science and education with a large dose of excitement; a canal flowing between Mediterranean-style apartment-houses, and lined with shady walk-ways, cafes, restaurants, convenience stores and places to relax; and lastly 34 elegant towers, ranging in height between 33 and 63 floors. The aim of the project is to build a community and create a desirable new suburb of Dubai.
■ When will it be completed?
The City of Arabia will be ready for occupation in the spring of 2008, when the Mall and the Restless Planet, which are linked together, throw open their doors. Parts of the Wadi Walk, with the Wadi Residences and some of the high-rise towers should be ready for occupation by the end of 2008.
■ Are the Apartments and Offices open to all?
The apartments and offices are freely available to all for purchase.
■ To what does the purchase of an apartment or office entitle the new owner?
The Government of Dubai, in consultation with the Federal Government of the UAE, is currently working on a Federal law covering ownership of property and the corresponding rights of residence in the UAE. Pending the publication of this law, which is expected later in 2005, purchasers of property in The City of Arabia will in effect be purchasing a long-term lease. Dubailand will probably be in a position before long to offer a period of residence to investors and purchasers, as is the practice with Nakheel and Emaar.
■ What are the terms of sale?
The usual terms for residential and office accommodation alike are: an initial deposit of 5%, 10% on signature of an agreement to purchase, followed by a period of six phased instalments, leaving a final 25% payment on taking delivery of the keys of the property on completion in 2008..
■ How many Apartments will there be in The City of Arabia?
The exact number of apartments will only be determined when the sub-developers of the mixed-use towers establish the precise ratio between commercial and residential accommodation in their buildings. (The 30-storey towers - with three floors of parking at the base - will all be for residential use. The 45-storey towers will be for mixed use, and 60-storey towers will be exclusively commercial.) At a rough estimate, the number of apartments could be as many as 8000.
■ Will there be hotels?
There will be a major 5-star international hotel with conference facilities over the entrance to the Mall of Arabia. It will offer spectacular views over the City and down into the entrance to the Mall, where the canal will flow in, bringing small ferry-boats carrying residents and visitors from the Wadi Walk area. Another hotel will be situated in one of the 45-storey towers on Emirates Road. A third hotel will be constructed on an island in the waterway. This will be a smaller boutique resort with a health spa.
■ How big will the Mall of Arabia be?
The Mall is planned to be the largest in Dubai and one of the biggest in the world. It will have over 1000 retailers, depending on the requirements of the tenants. Around ten percent of these will be food outlets. There will be a large international hypermarket. The Mall is designed to provide themed areas or "destinations" to make shopping easier, so that those wanting, for instance, to visit luxury shops or have treatment in the spa, will be guided to a quieter part of the Mall, away from the children's play area, the food courts, the electronic goods and technology stores, the bowling alley or the sports and leisure activities area. In the centre of the Mall will be an open area for theatrical or promotional events and exhibitions. The Mall will provide covered parking for over 10,000 vehicles.
■ What is so special about the Restless Planet?
The team assembled to construct the Restless Planet are unequalled anywhere in the world. The project is being led by the Natural History Museum of London, with the cooperation of Jack Rouse Associates of Cincinatti, the renowned theme-park designers.
Also in the consortium are the BBC, makers of the well-known TV series "Walking with Dinosaurs", and Kokoro of Japan, who make animatronic dinosaurs. From time to time, the Natural History Museum will bring exhibits of the latest dinosaur finds to Dubai, and it is intended that the Restless Planet will be used both as a centre for students interested in palaeontology and as platform for announcements about the latest dinosaur discoveries. The aim is to make the project a "must-see" for children of all ages. The science will be accurate and up-to-date, but there will also be excitement from the spectacular displays depicting the birth of Planet Earth and the rides through landscapes filled with large numbers of life-like moving dinosaurs.
■ What community facilities will there be?
The City of Arabia will be a new community in Dubai, and in additional to the shops, cafes and restaurants, there will be a wide range of facilities for residents, including schools, clinics, mosques and petrol stations.