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Jan 29 2014

Development to gather pace as Expo 2020 nears

DUBAI - Development will pick up pace beginning next year as Dubai sets into motion its master plan for the expo, key government agencies revealed at the ongoing Destination Dubai 2020 conference.

The Dubai Expo 2020 event will require €6.45 billion ($8.8 billion) of investment to develop all of the required facilities and host the event - a figure that, according to Helal Saeed Al-Marri, director-general at Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), would be needed for the development and operational costs until the end of the event.

He said a "significant amount" of the funding will come from the government, but there was also an opportunity for the private sector to invest during the build up to Expo 2020 and during the event itself. Al-Marri further said there was a significant opportunity for foreign direct investment (FDI) from the event.

In the opening keynote session at the conference, he said preparation for the event involved two main areas, development of the actual Expo site and the development of the city.

"The Expo site requires significant infrastructure and development, and the team is working on designs for this. This will be very project based," he said. "The other side is city readiness. The event will require significant development around the city."

Al-Marri highlighted that doubling the number of hotel rooms was a key part of preparing the city to handle the 25 million visitors expected to attend the event, 70 per cent of which will come from outside the UAE. This will include a number of "good quality" three- and four-star hotels.

The DTCM chief said the newly created Higher Committee would coordinate the activities of all the different government entities to ensure all projects are delivered on time.

Another exciting development set to take off next year is Burj 2020, which when completed is expected to be the world's tallest commercial tower, revealed Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

"We have put out tender to work with consultants, the architect will be announced this year, and construction will start next year [2015]. It will be built by 2020," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC.

The tower is planned as the world tallest commercial tower. It will be a steel structure meaning that it can be built quickly. "That tower is likely to be a steel structure and very efficient," continued bin Sulayem. "We are leaving nothing to chance with that building."

For leasing, DMCC expects that the tower will attract large international companies. "It is catering to multinational corporations that need 10-20 floors," he added.

The ongoing Destination Dubai 2020 event is the first conference to detail the very latest developments in Dubai's preparations for the Expo 2020. Highlights of the second day of the conference include MEED's forecast of the UAE projects market from 2014 to 2020; as well as a panel session outlining the roadmap to Dubai's economic recovery and the return to growth of the real estate sector.

© The Saudi Gazette 2014

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