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Eight contractors fight for IMPZ infrastructure work

Dhs50 billion International Media Production Zone is to be offices and waterfront residential

The International Media Production Zone became a reality last week. Contractors have been shortlisted for the project, which covers 3.8 million m2 of real estate alongside the Emirates Road. Construction work is to get underway before the end of this year.

“Though we cannot reveal any names as yet, we have shortlisted eight contractors whom we shall shortly invite to place their bids for developing the IMPZ,” said Mohammed Binghalib, director of Dubai’s latest zone.

His team hopes to complete the evaluation of the tenders by the end of November. The contract will be awarded shortly after and work on the site is expected to begin before the end of this year. “Construction and infrastructure development is likely to take about 12 to 14 months, and IMPZ is projected to be in full operational mode by early to middle of 2006, Binghalib told Construction Week.

He declined to reveal any estimated value for the tender, saying that it will be up to the contractors to submit their estimates after evaluating the details of the work that will be required of them. But he did say that IMPZ management would make a total investment of about Dhs800 million in the infrastructure and its own buildings.

The IMPZ director expected total investment from developers, residents and users to ultimately exceed Dhs50 billion. “Earlier we had planned to develop the IMPZ in phases. But the response was so good we had to combine the proposed three phases into just one big phase. We have been approached by a lot of investors from all over the region and beyond, and from the UAE too. All see it as a very good opportunity and we offer very reasonable rates. The designs have just been completed and already 500 000 m2 has been committed.”

IMPZ is a mixed-use development: it follows the guidelines for Dubai International Financial Centre rather than those of the Dubai Media City or Internet City. The development will have both a free zone devoted to printing, publishing and the media business and a luxurious waterfront residential area centered on a man-made lake.

Some 42 500 people can be accommodated in the development and jobs for 68 894 workers could be created. There is a proposed five star hotel with a capacity for 450 guests and an amphitheatre complex that will accommodate a 10000 audience.

The project was announced over a year ago, but has since undergone changes and modifications, the most critical of which was the shifting of the site from a smaller plot on the Arabian Ranches side of the Emirates Road to its present and much larger location.

IMPZ is being developed by Dubai Media City under the umbrella of Tecom. Dubai Media City is fully developed; hence the expansion onto the other side of Sheikh Zayed Road, behind Emirates Hills & Lake and just before the Green Community. It has a 3.8 km frontage along Emirates Road going towards Abu Dhabi. The IMPZ is 1.5 km deep, encompassing a 350-hectare area.

Halcrow is consultant for the master planning and engineering. It assembled a list of potential contractors, which was submitted to Tecom for final selection of the eight. Dewan Al Emara has been appointed as consultant for the community’s 2000 unit white collar housing of studios and one-bedroom units. Consultant for three-bedroom family housing is Arenco and for blue collar housing is Al Wasl Al Jadeed Consultants. Apart from these and other pre-built office and industrial units that are to be developed by IMPZ, there are several plots earmarked for development by private-sector investors.

Commercial and industrial space and residential plots will be both for sale and lease. It will be up to the developers of residential towers if they wish to lease out their properties or to sell them to investors, said zone officials.

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