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ECC to build Mulberry apartments at Emaar Properties’ Dubai Hills project

Posted by Irish Manluctao on July 10, 2016
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Construction at Emaar’s Dubai Hills. Reem Mohammed / The National

Engineering Contracting Company (ECC) has picked up two new contracts within mixed-use developments in its home city.

The Dubai-based construction company has been appointed by Emaar Properties to build the Mulberry apartments being developed at Emaar’s sprawling Dubai Hills site, at the junction of Al Khail Road and Umm Suqeim Road.

The work will involve the construction of 652 apartments and 24 penthouses within four mid-rise blocks at the site, as well as parking for 960 cars. These will be built as a series of low-rise apartment blocks and will have a total built-up area of 177,500 square metres.

Hatem Farah, ECC’s chief executive, did not disclose the value of the contract, but it is understood to be worth over Dh690 million. Mr Farah said that Dubai Hills “will be one of the very attractive areas for living” in Dubai. “The location, the concept, is beautiful,” he said.

“It was well studied as a complete community before launch. Emaar has come up with a complete concept and it is cleverly laid out. It’s not a replica. They created Downtown Burj Khalifa, which is a masterpiece. Now, they’re coming with a completely different approach to Dubai Hills.”

Dubai Hills is an 11 million square metre site that will have a 1.29 million square metre championship golf course, a flagship 143,377 sq metre mall, 210,778 sq metres of community retail, 197,000 sq metres of offices, homes and hotels. It is expected that once it is fully developed, the site will have 24,000 homes.

Elsewhere in the city, ECC has recently been appointed by Dubai Islamic Bank to deliver the first phase of the long-awaited Badr project, which is close to Mirdif, at the junction of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Road and Airport Road.

A project in the area was first proposed in 2004, when clearances of older houses began. National Engineering Bureau was appointed as a consultant to develop detailed designs in the following year. “Now, they are building a big complex there,” said Mr Farah.

The first phase will be built on a 204,387 sq metre site and consists of a shopping mall with a pair of residential towers. The towers will have 761 flats and the complex will have parking for 1,500 cars. The Dh687m first phase is likely to be built by 2018.

ECC is a 41-year-old contracting company with about 5,000 employees. The contractor is also building phase two of Dubai Properties’ Remraam housing project in Dubailand and its Dh800m Dubai Wharf shopping and residential scheme, which is part of the wider Culture Village project in Al Jadaf.

Mr Farah said competition for contracts in Dubai was “strong” but that margins were in line with international standards. “Wherever you go, the … contracting business is tough. If you don’t have good management and good control, it’s not easy.”

Mike Collings, the Middle East director of project management consultancy Turner & Townsend, said that the low tender prices being offered by contractors has encouraged developers to move forward with projects.

“There are opportunities that people will grasp if prices are right. That’s the key at the moment, especially in the Dubai market. [Expo] 2020 is definitely going to be a catalyst.”

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