Top 10 Dubai mega-projects you should know about

Dubai Water Canal

A snapshot of some of the emirate’s most important infrastructure developments currently under construction, many of which will be completed by 2020 when the city hosts the World Expo


When fully operational by the mid-2020s, Dubai’s new airport will cater to more than 200 million passengers annually. Featuring five runways and built across an area of 56 square kilometres and at a cost of more than US$82 billion, Al Maktoum International is on track to become the world’s biggest aviation hub within the next decade.


DTC – Jebel Ali, which is currently under construction, is the 438-hectare site outlined for development in the Dubai Expo 2020 Master Plan. It will include the 150-hectare expo area plus residential, hospitality and logistics zones and is scheduled for completion in 2019. The expo site will have capacity for 300,000 visitors.


The biggest of Dubai’s planned city-within-a-city developments is the $10 billion Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBR City). The  first phase, known as District One, is set to be launched in mid-2016 and will feature villas, man-made lagoons stretching seven kilometres, the world’s largest artificial beach, a 14-kilometre boardwalk and a large water park. Further phases will include a Universal Studios theme park, 100 hotels, the world’s largest swimming pool (covering 40 acres), one of the world’s largest malls, and a golf course. It is scheduled for completion in 2022.


The $6.8 billion Mall of the World project is a mega retail development that will be built as part of the world’s first temperature-controlled city. When it opens in the mid-2020s, it will stake its claim as the world’s largest shopping mall at four times the size of current record-holder, Dubai Mall. The city, being built on Sheikh Zayed Road and covering an area the size of 200 football pitches, will also feature a theme park, a covered street-shopping concept, 100 hotels and a wellness district.


Located off the Jumeirah coastline adjacent to Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), this man-made island will be dedicated to hospitality and entertainment. The focal point of this offshore development will be the 210-metre ‘Dubai Eye’ Ferris wheel inspired by the UK capital’s London Eye. It is expected to attract at least three million visitors annually.


This mega project will feature three theme parks – motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood – housing 73 main attractions when it opens in the third quarter of 2016. Hotels, plus a retail, dining and entertainment precinct branded ‘Riverpark’, will also be built as part of this complex. Dubai Parks and Resorts is expected to attract 6.7 million visitors in its first full-year of operation. Legoland will feature 15,000 models made from 60 million individual Lego blocks.


Meydan One, the first phase of which will be open in time for Expo 2020, will feature a 711-metre-high tower, a mall with a retractable roof, indoor ski slope, the biggest dancing fountains in the world and a 100-berth marina. The world’s highest 360-degree observation deck (at 655 metres) and its highest sky restaurant (675 metres) are also part of this five-million-square-metre development located between Meydan and Al Khail Road.


Described as a modern and unique commercial and tourist destination, the $545 million Dubai Water Canal project will be based around a 3.2-kilometre-long canal that links Dubai Creek in Business Bay to the Arabian Sea. With almost 50 percent of this development already constructed, it is mooted for completion by September 2016. Features will include a sand beach, a marina for private boats and waterbuses, and three pedestrian bridges above the canal linking Jumeirah Beach Walk with Safa Park Walk.


Four islands covering 23.5 kilometres of coastline are being built offshore offering 8.5 kilometres of beaches. The south island will feature a marina, Dubai’s new Night Souq as well as Deira Mall, plus the Deira Islands Towers and Boulevard featuring residential, retail and leisure components. The value of the coastal work alone is estimated at $550 million.


One of the latest mega developments announced for Dubai is the $2.72 billion Al Mamzar Beachfront project featuring retail, residential and hospitality components as well as 3.5 kilometres of walking tracks covered with plantations, all of which will surround the 53-hectare Al Mamzar Lake. Work is expected to start on the project by early next year with plans to establish the area as a tourism destination in the future.