Land around Dubai’s new Al Maktoum airport is set to become one of the world’s biggest real estate hot spots, experts say.
The property broker Knight Frank listed the newly named 145 square kilometres Dubai South hub as one of its top five global infrastructure projects set to create real estate opportunities over the coming five years.
In its Global Cities report published on Friday, Knight Frank said that the world needs to build the equivalent of five cities the size of Los Angeles every year between now and 2020 and all the supporting infrastructure if it is to accommodate a global population forecast to increase by 380 million people.
“The development potential of this rapid urbanisation is huge, offering considerable opportunities to firms and investors that operate globally,” said John Snow, Knight Frank’s head of commercial property.
Dubai South, formerly known as Dubai World Central, was launched in 2006 as the world’s first purpose-built “aerotropolis”, with Al Maktoum International Airport at its core.
The airport is scheduled to be expanded from a current freight capacity of 1 million tonnes of cargo per year to 16 million tonnes while the passenger terminal is expected to handle 220 million passengers a year when it takes over operations from the city’s main Dubai International Airport.
At the Cityscape Global property exhibition in Dubai last month, DWC was rebranded Dubai South and it was announced that it was planning to build a Dh25 billion middle-income residential project, which would be laid out as a cluster of villages.
The first village, which will encompass 6,000 homes such as apartments, villas and town houses, is due to be completed in 2019.
“Looking forward, Dubai South’s improving connectivity will be pivotal in establishing it as an important commercial hub in the UAE,” said Khawar Khan, a research manager at Knight Frank Middle East.
“The free zone is in a strong position to appeal to firms looking for international reach: a four-hour plane ride from Dubai allows access to a third of the world’s population and an eight hour flight to two-thirds. This wave of mega-infrastructure projects should guarantee Dubai’s reputation as a global centre over the next decade, with Dubai South as a cornerstone,” he added.
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