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The city of Dubai, fuelled by major glass-fronted development over the past 40 years, appears to have realised that its residents may appreciate more than shopping and gyms. A new design-led area is being purpose-built in the desert, aimed at attracting start-ups and ‘creatives’. While this sounds like the antipathy of how fringe areas usually develop – usually led and grown by the occupants themselves rather than the planners – in Dubai there is little choice if such an area is to flourish. Following the ‘if we build it they will come’ line of the thinking – which, granted, has worked well for the city thus far – d3 (Dubai Design District) will be ‘a purpose-built community dedicated to promoting and nurturing emerging local talent while also providing a creative home to established international design, luxury and fashion brands’. So, it would appear that luxury shopping will also have a foot in the door here: not so much a gritty area, as natty.
There are currently ten buildings under construction, and the site is close to the heart of Dubai and its shopping attractions, while occupying a waterfront position. It is part of the TECOM Investments’ Free Zone business parks and will permit foreign ownership, more relaxed licensing and a legal framework that ‘encourages innovative creative startups’. It is hoped that d3 will appeal to the residents of Dubai who want to see more culture than is already offered, while retaining the high-quality, top-end features of services and products that Dubai residents are used to.
The site will encompass 21 million square feet and the other figures involved in the project are ambitious: 10,000 business workers and a 4,000-strong creative community. The first phase is hoped to be ready in the first quarter of this year.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.