Laing O’Rourke has been named as the preferred bidder to build a new retail and hospitality project, on a site that forms part of the Expo2020 master plan.
The contractor, based in the UK, has been appointed to build a 216,340 square metre shopping mall, associated car park and two hotels for a development company that is a joint venture between the Dubai World Trade Centre and Emaar Properties.
The firm’s agreement with the joint venture will involve it working directly with the project’s design team to develop the scheme on a fast-track basis.
“It’s very exciting to be named preferred bidder for the new retail and hospitality development, as it will be one of the main lifestyle hubs in the heart of one of the largest developments in the Middle East,” said Mark Andrews, the managing director of Laing O’Rourke’s Middle East business.
“The master plan for Dubai South is impressive and we look forward to working alongside the client and all stakeholders to ensure this project is delivered to the highest quality.”
Dubai South is a 145 sq kilometre city that contains the Expo2020 master-planned site and Al Maktoum International Airport, which is set to be the world’s biggest airport once it is completely built out.
The Expo site will have one main pavilion, Al Wasl Plaza, which has been designed by the Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava. There will also be three pavilions linked to key Expo themes – a sustainability pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects, a mobility pavilion designed by Foster + Partners and an opportunity pavilion by Danish architecture firm BIG.
In September, Expo 2020’s vice president of legacy, Marjan Faidooni, revealed that 80 per cent of the investment in the Expo site will be reused, including its pavilions.
The main part of the site will be dedicated to conference and exhibition space, and many of the pavilions donated to poorer nations will become collaborative workspaces.
The mobility pavilion will become a logistics-focused education institute and the sustainability pavilion will be what is described as a science “exploratorium”.
Expo bosses have also pledged that more than 20 per cent of direct and indirect spending on Expo 2020 – about Dh5 billion in total – will be allocated to SMEs.
Speaking at a Dubai Investment Forum event last week, the Expo 2020 executive director Najeeb Al Ali said that an e-sourcing portal created to allow companies of all sizes to bid for work now has 8,500 firms registered and that 2,000 of these are SMEs.
“We want all kinds of opportunities so that when we produce the things that we produce – from construction to content – we have all of these capabilities on the ground.”