Jewel of the Creek Project: Constructing a luxury waterfront.
The sustained expansion of Dubai’s leisure industry is a fitting context for the Jewel of the Creek project. The project will showcase the best of a growing Dubai, with hotels, apartments, restaurants and offices. Once the Jewel of the Creek is completed, it will become, without a doubt, a sizable edition to the city’s great skyline.
Located in Port Saeed, the Jewel of the Creek is a luxury waterfront development that will offer a selection of stylish hotels, apartments, offices, and food and beverage (F&B) outlets.
With a near 124,000 square metre plot, the vast and varied complex will feature five hospitality buildings, a marina hub, a pedestrianized lagoon with footbridges, and a vehicular bridge. The vehicular bridge will serve the five-star hotel’s drop-off point.
The HLG group was awarded the construction of the AED 4 billion project with a contract from Dubai International Real Estate. The contract has permitted the HLG group to build four basement levels, fit all rafts, and create the ground floor slabs on the waterside site.
Nominated sub-contractors and suppliers include Drake & Scull Engineering, who are working with the main contractor on the project’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) works under a $107.5m (AED395m) joint-venture agreement. Al Abbar Aluminium supplied aluminium and glazing work for the first phase of the project, and Vancouver International is tasked with the supply and installation of ceilings.
Dubai’s transport authority said that it has awarded a AED375 contract for roads and tunnels leading to the project, which is being built between Al Maktoum Bridge, Baniyas Road and the Floating Bridge covering a 123,955sqm plot of land.
The Roads and Transport Authority said that the awarding of the contract was coordinated with the Dubai International Real Estate Company.
It added that the Jewel of the Creek has been designed as a “landmark tourist destination adding further prominence to the city and the tourist profile of the area”.
Mattar Al Tayer, director-general of the RTA and Khalil Al Sayegh, director-general of DIRE, signed the memorandum of understanding for funding the construction.
Al Tayer said: “The entry and exit points leading to the Jewel of the Creek have been designed to meet the needs of this futuristic architectural masterpiece enhancing the Dubai skyline and posing as a majestic urban development on the shores of the Dubai Creek.”
Designers and engineers from Roda Hotels have also made an impact on construction by bringing in water from the creek to create a salted, filtered swimming pool. All of these works will take place between Al Maktoum Bridge, Baniyas Road, and the Floating Bridge.
Plans for construction began in 2006, but were put on hold during the world financial crisis in 2008-2009. The project resurfaced in 2014, and is expecting full completion in time for the Expo 2020.
The ‘Big 5’ event director Josine Heijmans said:
“A growing population, the tourism sector and strategic government investments like the Dubai Plan 2021 and the Dubai Expo 2020 are fuelling the local construction industry”. The Jewel of the Creek is one of Dubai’s numerous efforts to ‘transform Dubai into an international hub for knowledge-based, innovation and sustainable Industrial activities’, according to the 2021 Plan.
The first phase of the project focused on the construction of a 500 room Roda-branded hotel. Overlooking the waterfront, the area contains enough space for 28 F&B outlets and an 86-berth marina. The cost of this infrastructure was Dh900 million.
Work is in progress for phase two. This phase involves the construction and completion of a 389-room, a non-alcoholic hotel, a 445-room four-star fashion hotel, and a 405-room three-star plug-and-play hotel. There are also plans to create The Dubai Dome: a multi-purpose hall, which can host up to 3,000 people. Retail, food and beverage outlets will be placed inside the dome. In addition to this, some outlets will run alongside the waterfront. The space required for these particular developments has been pre-leased. The work will be completed by August 2018.
Adib Karam, corporate director for design and architecture at Roda Hotels, spoke about the expected components. He said:
“The project’s second phase…comprises a three-star hotel, a four-star hotel, and non-alcoholic buildings.”
The non-alcoholic buildings are being designed using North African elements, featuring a theme of Moroccan architecture. Aimed at attracting GCC nationals, these buildings will replace luxury spas with Moroccan and Turkish baths, and incorporate an Iranian restaurant.
The diversity of hotels is evident. Inside adjacent tower blocks are the ‘plug and play’ hotels. These hotels “target guests in their twenties and early-thirties”. The hotels will feature concepts such as self-service, self-check-in, vending machines, and other amenities that require the deployment of fewer staff. Karam added:
“The 400-key hotel also comprises a pool and a gym, but the salient feature is that the hotel is aimed at the young and tech-friendly.”
He then said:
“The four-star hotel, also offering 400-keys, will be more luxurious, and have a business centre and meeting rooms, a specialty restaurant, a jazz bar, an infinity pool, and an outdoor gym”.
The hotels and residential spaces have played a significant role in the project’s construction: they have determined the layout for the rest of the compound. On talking to Construction Week Robert Hawkins, corporate vice president for technical services at Roda Hotels, has explained:
“We have buildings A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 on the island.”
“A1 is our five-star luxury hotel, which has been designed to incorporate a sense of where we are, and will boast a modern design of Arabia. It also boasts a significant number of facilities, such as a spa, a swimming pool, and a gym, besides F&B outlets. This hotel has been designed to overlook a large promenade.”
“A2, A3, and A4 are identical serviced residential buildings, each of them with their own pool decks and facilities. These buildings sit on the podium level of F&B, which will span the ground and first floors.”
“A5 connects to our marina area, and is being developed as the marina hub,” This building will contain additional F&B outlets. It provides links to the marina, which demonstrates how this waterfront area has been entwined with an expansive set of residencies and hotels.”
All units at the development will be available on a rental only basis, since Port Saeed, a notable and historic part of Dubai’s Deira locality, falls under the Emirate’s rental-zone categories. Mr. Hawkans said:
“Depending on which block you’re targeting to live in, you could rent a unit at Jewel of the Creek for a day, a week, a month, six months, or a year, and there will be flexible conditions”
There will be nine towers in total across the Jewel of the Creek, and all of these towers will be targeting the hospitality sector. Due to the enormity of the build, Roda Hotels is expected to become one of the biggest employers in Dubai, with plans to hire almost 10,000 employees across all its properties by the end of 2017. CEO of Roda Hotels, Imad Elias, has stated that the hotels will have “extensive staffing needs”. He said:
“If the projected workforce numbers do bear fruit, this will make Roda one of the biggest employers in the emirate. It will also take place at a time when other key sectors remain in retrenchment mode.”
Mr. Elias said: “Dubai as a whole will require another 120,000 rooms to absorb future demand up to 2020. During the week of the recent Gulf Food, all of the hotels in the city were booked.” This means “Roda’s focus on fast tracking all of its hospitality projects is not misplaced”.
The on-going project has been frequently revisited. Information, drawings and quality checks have seen re-evaluation at every step of the build. The construction and engineering teams have ensured that new designs have been easily incorporated in to the ten-year-old plans. Mr. Elias said:
“We’re not going to have a 10-year-old project just because we designed it 10 years ago…we’ve actually re-evaluated the design and tendered that [updated] design, so it’s the most up-to-date project we can possibly have for the market.”
High quality, modern security cameras, monitors, and TVs have been staggered in to the design to ensure that the project can benefit from the most recent systems.
“We, Roda Hotels are projecting into the future as well. The project isn’t going to be finished tomorrow; it takes time to deliver a project this size, so we’ve done our best to project forward.”
“Life has changed in Dubai over time, and we’re appealing to different people now than we might have been 10 years ago.”
With clear projected plans, this ambitious, carefully reviewed and expertly engineered project has the potential to bring a varied base of clientele and guests to Dubai’s up-and-coming waterfront area.