A model of the Opera District, an Emaar project, is displayed at Cityscape 2013 in Dubai. Razan Alzayani / The National
Emaar Properties has awarded a Dh500 million contract to build the Opera Grand Tower in Downtown Dubai to Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company, according to Meed.
Meed said the tower would be 65 to 70 storeys high and that 56 of these would be residential floors. The tower will form part of the new Opera District, which will overlook the Dubai Opera House that is set to open its doors at the end of next month.
Neither the developer nor the contractor replied to a request for comment. However, in a recent interview with Janus Rostock, the regional design director of Atkins, which designed the Opera House and masterplanned the district, he said that there was room for “eight to 10″ new towers within the Opera District.
Mr Rostock said the master plan had been centred on “creating an alternative to what’s currently in the Downtown area” based on cultural attractions, with the potential for new performing arts schools, galleries and jazz clubs to be added to the 2,000-capacity Opera House and the new towers proposed for the area.
The new Opera House will have a large public plaza towards the Boulevard and an amphitheatre to the rear, which has been built by landscaping over the maintenance building for the nearby lake and fountains.
Mr Rostock also said the site would also have bridges to The Dubai Mall on one side, enhancing the size of the area for viewing Downtown’s lakes and fountains, while on the other it plugged a space between the Burj Khalifa and the remainder of Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard’s restaurants and apartment buildings, creating a more pedestrian-friendly district.
“It closes the circle around the Boulevard. Today that part of the district is like a missing tooth, and this is filling that.”
Meanwhile, the UK contractor Kier has picked up £75m (Dh366m) worth of new contracts in Dubai – £60m of which are for the affordable housing developer Nshama.
The company said that it had been chosen as preferred bidder for an £11m project to build infrastructure at Nshama’s Town Square project and a £49m accommodation project for the same developer, with the latter being funded by UK Export Finance – an export credit agency that allows contractors to offer funding lines to clients.
Kier has also secured a £15m infrastructure project for Meraas Holding.
David Clifton, the regional business development director of Faithful and Gould, said that the second half of this year “is seen as a likely accelerator in development” in the UAE construction market, as projects linked to Dubai’s Expo 2020 get off the ground.
In a new construction intelligence report produced on the market, Mr Clifton said there was potential for several significant announcements to be made by Emaar Properties regarding projects at its Dubai Creek Harbour scheme.
These “represent a potential skew in the market if launched concurrently, as this will drive market sentiment and inflation,” he said.
“However, given Abu Dhabi’s halt in awards, the market is still below levels expected to maintain the industry.”