Meraas’s Marsa Al Seef hospitality and retail development in Dubai’s Bur Dubai area is due for completion by the second quarter of 2017.
The 1.8km stretch of waterfront, overlooking Dubai’s consulate area, is currently undergoing a makeover into an Arabic-heritage inspired offering.
The first phase of the total 21.3ha (2.3 million sqf) project is scheduled for completion by the third quarter of next year.
“Dubai’s had limited offering within the cultural tourism space, and this is what the Marsa Al Seef development will be looking to plug,” Abdul Wahab Al Halabi, the CEO overseeing the project, said, as per a report in local daily Gulf News.
“We had an in-house team working on the design concept, and we also took inputs from a UAE-based architect, and another who is international.
“The in-house team also took in Dubai’s traditional districts of Bastakiya and Fahidi districts, as well as toured souq locations in Oman and Qatar to get the true feel of heritage into the design.”
The masterplan incorporates dedicated bays for yachts, while Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority will also have a base there to operate abra (water taxi) services.
The retail and F&B portion will offer up to 6.5ha (700,000sqf) of gross leasable area.
Meraas expects to start leasing by year end.
“We are still working on the lease rates, but the mix of retailers could include those offering traditional handicrafts and anything that can cater to a tourist clientele,” Halabi said.
The hospitality component is decidedly skewed towards a boutique flavour — there will be 200 rooms interspersed across the retail area.
A 300-key ‘family’ hotel and another of 220 keys for an upscale property will also be built.
Speaking about whether the summer months would slow down Marsa Al Seef’s performance, Halabi said: “There are ways that can be avoided by shifting around the opening hours during summer, or integrating the shaded areas in a way to fend off the worst of the heat.
“It’s been done before quite successfully in our own operations at City Walk and at The Beach.”