Dubai: Creating communities in Dubai is no longer about living in one place and driving down to work elsewhere. If both can be done at the same place, all the better. And throw in a mammoth lobby with music streaming through, then the developer and the resident have hit the right groove.
“The live-and-work concept has worked quite well in Europe, the US and Japan,” said Fred Durie, CEO of Nshama, which recently started handover at its 3.1 million-square-metre Town Square development off Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and further down from Al Barsha. “We have had the handover of 320 townhouses so far, and we are seeing residents who couldn’t afford this location earlier come into Town Square.”
At the time of its launch, in 2015, it offered introductory prices of just under Dh1 million for a three-bedroom townhouse and Dh350,000 for a studio. The entire development will take 10 years to build up and eventually be home to 80,000 residents. Each of the sales launches so far has been met with robust demand.
Some of the initial handovers are also entering the rental market, with a three-bed having an asking rate of Dh120,000 and more, while a four-bed unit has a tag of Dh135,000 plus.
“At some point, we as the developer will be open to retaining some of the buildings in Town Square for [short-term] leasing purposes,” said Durie. “At the moment, however, we just have one such project, for 1,500 units, leased out for 10 years to a corporate tenant. That will be delivered in Q1-19.
“We have masterplanned the entire 3.1 million square metres and well in line to meet that 10-year completion timeframe.”
With the first tenants moving in plus the units put up for rents, Town Square will have a decisive say in how the rents in the immediate areas play out.
And those little touches such as a super-sized lobby can lend a hand. At 2,000 square metres, the area has been divvied up for a music room, games corner, reading space and creative zones.
“Right now we have two ground level lobbies, each part of a ground-plus-11-storey building with 478 residential units [studios and one-bedroom apartments],” said Durie. “Sure, the work-life aspect has been tried at some of the other projects in Dubai. But I would like to think we have taken this concept a long way forward. Under the UNA concept we are launching now, tenants can also benefit from the licenced co-working spaces.
“The home and work aspirations of the new generation have changed. They seek social destinations that add to their quality of living with none of the fuss associated with traditional apartment-living. This is a perfect fit to the start-up, digital-savvy youth of our times. They value privacy and individuality yet cherish the joy of social collaboration.”