Dubai Sports City set up for the big kick off

With enabling work almost complete and many of the access roads now in place, work on DSC is set to start soon

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By  Rhys Jones Published  August 21, 2004

An introduction to Dubai Sports City|~|DSCbodypic.jpg|~|An artists impression of Dubai Sports City, which should be completed by 2007. |~|Dubai is a city that already boasts many landmark construction projects and it is now set to add the only integrated sports and residential project currently underway in the world to its ever growing portfolio. Dubai Sports City (DSC) will be a 5 million m2 complex featuring sporting stadia and academies, a golf course, sports mall, villas, residential complexes and some high rise buildings. The US $2 billion development has already attracted franchises and brands such as Ernie Els Design, Manchester United Football Club, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and David Lloyd’s tennis academies to the Dubailand-based facility, which promises to offer a range of sporting, commercial and housing facilities. Some 70% of the project’s value will be self-funded by DSC, while the remaining 30% will be split with outside investors. The land on which the residential units, golf course and golf academy will be built covers around 2.5 million m2 and will be developed under a joint venture between First Islamic investment and DSC. The masterplan was completed through Forrec, a company that has done a great deal of work with Disney, while the local detailer and project manager is Parsons. With the total cost of the development somewhere in the region of $2 billion, roughly $1.3 to $1.4 billion will be the total value of the building work alone. Construction of the structures is due to start in the new year with the first set to be complete in early 2007. ||**||The DSC concept|~|golfpic.jpg|~|The Victory Heights golf complex will feature a course designed by Ernie Els.|~|“It’s a new thing for private investors to build sports stadia in Dubai,” said Khalid Abdulrahim Al Zarooni, president, DSC. “There is nothing else like it, except Dubai Sports City.” The golf development is called Victory Heights and has been masterplanned by Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo (WATG). The centrepiece of Victory Heights is the 18-hole championship golf course designed by the world’s current number two golfer, Ernie Els, in association with Nicklaus Design. East West Partners, a developer of themed residential communities in the USA, which has completed over 30 similar projects, will develop the surrounding complex. It will feature the Butch Harmon School of golf, the David Lloyd tennis academy and country club, apartments and town houses. “Victory Heights will have approximately 1000 units of housing and I also think you will see a lot of other residential and commercial developments being done but I don’t think everything will be fully complete until 2009 or 2010,” said U Balasubramaniam, CEO, DSC. In terms of stadia, the DSC stadium complex will feature four arenas, all designed to host different events. There will be separate stadiums for cricket and hockey (25 000 and 10 000 seats respectively), which will host international matches in the future; an outdoor multipurpose stadium (25 000 seats) for sports like football, rugby and track & field and an indoor multipurpose stadium (8000 seats) for sports such as basketball, volleyball, netball and other hard-court indoor sports. A 150 000 m2 shopping mall will link the four stadia, with a large part of the mall dedicated to sports and the rest dedicated to the needs of local residents. German architectural outfit Gerkan, Marg & Partners (GMP) is busy working on the design of the stadium architecture. GMP has designed around 40 stadia around the world, the most recent of which was the redesign of the Berlin Olympic Stadium. The company also worked on the Frankfurt Stadium and has recently done work in Beijing in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. The plans are close to being finalised and should feature some modern design elements to fit in with Dubai’s contemporary style. However, more than one contractor is likely to be involved in the construction of the stadia to speed the whole process up. ||**||Stadia and enabling works|~|stadiabody.jpg|~|A mock-up of DSC's four multi-purpose stadia.|~|“Looking at the architecture of the four stadia, I expect it will all be long span architecture with steel and iron-ribbed roofing so it will make sense to divide the four stadiums up between two contractors that have that capability, so the work will progress faster,” said Balasubramaniam. Dubailand will provide the infrastructure up to the periphery of the DSC site, but whatever goes on site will have to be provided by DSC itself. However, external providers will be sure to be involved in the project at some stage. “At the end of the day you are going to have a development on a huge area of land and I think at some point all the various service providers in Dubai, such as Dewa, Etisalat and the Municipality, will have to coordinate with Dubailand because its requirements will be so massive,” said Al Zarooni. Dubai’s proposed light rail system will pass through Emirates Road, and DSC will have a connection to that, but will not be overly dependent on it. “We are working on a traffic impact study, and when we host a major game, shuttle buses will be provided from the city for pick up and drop off spectators,” added Al Zarooni. Other sporting facilities within Dubailand include the Plantation, Polo and Equestrian Centre. This is another large project and comprises four full size polo fields, several paddocks for show jumping and dressage as well as a man made cross-country horse competition track complete with ditches, hills and other obstacles. Furthermore, there will be a host of swimming pools all the way around the DSC academies area, and again at the country club alongside an Olympic sized swimming pool and an aquatic centre. Al Naboodah is the contractor for DSC’s enabling works, which features 9.2 km of roads around the site. This preliminary work is necessary to create access to the site and to provide adequate roadways so that construction can start. It also involves the excavation of the golf course’s irrigation lakes, the fencing of the whole site, setting up site offices and marking out where certain structures and stadia will be based. This work started at the end of May and should be complete by the end of August.||**||

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