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UAE Megaprojects: 15 Initiatives That Will Change the Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is going through large-scale transformations as dozens of innovative projects change the country’s image. The UAE authorities have a clear view of the decades to follow, and they are paving the way into the future based on progress and innovations.

UAE Megaprojects

Numerous initiatives, starting with the construction of iconic skyscrapers to the implementation of advanced urban planning methods, are there to redefine the economic, social, and cultural structure of the UAE and turn Dubai and other cities of the Emirates into the world’s best places to live and work. Here is brief information about the key megaprojects to be implemented in the United Arab Emirates. These initiatives are focused on the country’s transformation over the next decade.

1. Dubai Creek Tower

1. Dubai Creek Tower

The construction of the Dubai Creek Tower skyscraper actually started in October 2016. The 928-meter-high structure was scheduled to be put into operation by the start of the world exhibition Expo-2020. It was designed to become the world’s highest building -100 meters higher than the previous record holder, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. 

However, the project was paused. In August 2023, Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar company founder, said that Dubai Creek Tower was being redesigned. The construction is expected to restart in 2024. Emaar representatives did not rule out that the skyscraper may become lower after redesign. 

2. Etihad Rail Passenger Train

Etihad Rail Passenger Train

In 2022, the Etihad Rail company presented a passenger train pilot model. The train that will be able to move at a speed of 200 kilometers per hour is a part of the company’s plans to organize the transportation of heavy cargo. It will start serving passengers by 2030, which will help the time of travel between the cities of Emirates. The route will start from the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the UAE’s eastern coast. The passengers will be able to get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and Abu Dhabi and Fujairah will be just 100 minutes from each other.

3. Burj Binghatti

Burj Binghatti

Binghatti construction company has entered into a partner agreement with Jacob & Co jewelry company to build the world’s highest residential building. The planned height of the skyscraper to be located in Dubai’s Business Bay district is kept secret. The current record holder is Central Park Tower, a skyscraper in New York which is 472.4 meters high. The 393-meter high Princess Tower skyscraper is now the highest residential building in Dubai.

The new residential complex with more than 100 floors will offer residences with two and three bedrooms. The complex called Burj Binghatti (Burj Binghatti Jacob & Co Residences) will have a pool with a panoramic view of Dubai, as well as its own concierge service (the services of private cooks, bodyguards, and drivers). The project will also contain a private club and elite penthouses.

4. A Skyscraper with a Green Façade by R.evolution

A Skyscraper with a Green Façade by R.evolution

R.evolution has announced the construction of a skyscraper called Eywa in Dubai. The designers said that they drew their inspiration from banyan trees and the Southern Sky Column (a mountain of quartz sandstone in the national forest park of Zhangjiajie located in China). Unique design elements include open round columns and intertwining branches and roots. R.evolution is trying to create an impression of “wild luxury” which will make it possible for the residents to feel unity with the environment on a deeper level.

The project includes a library, private waterfalls, and hammocks. The complex will have high-quality finishing, well-planned premises, spacious bathrooms and kitchens equipped with premium-class household appliances. 

The residential complex is designed to reframe the urban life in Dubai, and it will become the first project of this kind in the UAE for R.evolution, a well-known European developer. The complex will be composed of 48 residences with 2–5 bedrooms. The construction site will be located on the embankment. The windows will overlook the water, the center of Dubai, and Burj Khalifa, a famous skyscraper.

5. Island

Island

The Island in Dubai is a project focused on the creation of a resort complex on an artificial island with an area of 10.5 hectares. It will include more than 1,400 hotel rooms, deluxe rooms, and Dubai apartments, as well as retail shops, restaurants, a beach club, bars, a lagoon, and entertainment venues. The project is developed by Wasl Hospitality & Leisure. The well-known hotel brands of Las Vegas, MGM, Bellagio, and Aria, will use it to enter the Middle East market. It aims to increase the attractiveness of Dubai as a resort destination. 

6. Wasl Tower

Wasl Tower

Dubai’s Wasl Tower scheduled to be opened in the second quarter of 2024 is a 302-meter high building that has 64 floors. What makes this skyscraper special? The building will have a unique façade designed to create the feeling of dynamic movement. The project will rotate around a Z axis to reflect the contrapposto movement concept that you usually encounter in classic art. This element of design will create an impression that the skyscraper simultaneously faces several directions.

7. Baccarat Hotel and Residences

Baccarat Hotel and Residences

Shamal Holding has announced its plans to open a hotel complex in the center of Dubai in 2026. The skyscraper designed by Studio Libeskind and 1508 London will have a glass façade that complements the iconic landscape of the popular district. The windows will give a stunning view of well-known places of interest, including Burj Khalifa, Al Fahidi Fort, and Dubai Creek.

8. Master Plan of Dubai Metro’s Blue Line

Master Plan of Dubai Metro’s Blue Line

In November 2023, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid approved a new blue line of Dubai metro: it will be a 30-kilometer route with 14 stations that will connect the main districts of the megalopolis by 2029. The aim is to satisfy the demand for transportation services on the part of the growing population. Upon completion of the construction, the total length of Dubai metro railroad lines will increase to reach 131 km. The metro will include 78 stations. 

The blue line will connect the red and green lines that pass from Al Rashidiya to Dubai’s international airport. The line is expected to serve up to 200,000 passengers on a daily basis by 2030, with this number increasing to 320,000 by 2040. The approximate investment cost of the project is 56.5 billion dirhams. Its implementation will bring economic and social benefits, including fewer traffic jams and the higher price of land near the stations.

9. Hatta: A Master Plan of Development

9. Hatta: A Master Plan of Development

Hatta is a city in the emirate of Dubai located on the border with Oman which is known as a tourist center due to its high cultural and historical value. Hatta’s general development plan, which is a part of the master plan for development of the city of Dubai until 2040, is focused on preservation of the natural environment, increasing tourist competitive advantage, and the development of local business. 

It also declares the support of internal projects initiated by Hatta’s residents, stimulation of tourism, and preservation of the district’s unique geographical identity. The plan also envisages the creation of a stable transportation system and eco-friendly hotels. The document first announced in October 2021 describes the development of Hatta over the next few decades with an emphasis on increasing well-being, creation of investment opportunities, and turning the district into a popular all-season tourist destination.

10. Palm Jebel Ali

Palm Jebel Ali

Palm Jebel Ali is an archipelago of artificial islands in the Persian Gulf represented by Dubai’s administration. Its area will make up about 13.4 sq.km (twice the size of Palm Jumeirah). The aim is to provide accommodation and conveniences to about 35 thou. families. The shoreline will be about 110 km long. The territory will be home to more than 80 hotels and resorts to support Dubai’s ambitious plans to strengthen the tourist industry. The archipelago will boast abundant green spaces. Renewable sources of energy will satisfy 30% of the new district’s needs for electricity. 

11. Saadiyat Grove

Saadiyat Grove

A new project called Saadiyat Grove whose cost is estimated at $ 1.5 billion will be implemented on the prestigious island of Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. Upon completion, the object will include 60,000 sq.m. of shopping and entertainment premises. It is expected to have about 3,000 pieces of real estate, two hotels, as well as co-workings to be used for startups and new enterprises. A lot of street food and drink shops will be opened here.

Low-carbon solutions and passive strategies will be integrated to fight the urban heat island effect. The project’s authors are promoting the concept of a 15-minute city by combining it with different kinds of transport (motorized bicycles, Segways, autonomous cars, shuttle buses, and unmanned personal high-speed vehicles). The construction is in progress. The project is expected to be opened to visitors over the next four to five years.

12. Abu Dhabi Natural History Museum

Abu Dhabi Natural History Museum

Abu Dhabi Natural History Museum whose construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025 will be located in the cultural district of Saadiyat. The museum’s total area will exceed 35,000 square meters, and its design will be aligned with natural rock formations. 

It will store rare artifacts that reflect different events of the Earth’s history. The site will also be used as a research and educational institution. The aim of the museum is to tell the visitors about the planet and give them an opportunity to travel in time and space by showing the past, present, and future of the Universe. The collection will include such remarkable objects as the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex named Stan and a sample of the Murchison meteorite.

13. Branch of the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi

Branch of the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi

The branch of the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi will be located in the cultural district of Saadiyat. The project is the result of cooperation between the emirate’s Culture and Tourism Department and the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation. The opening is scheduled for 2025. The branch will exhibit collections of art objects, studies and publications aiming to present different points of view on the global history of contemporary art. The collection will have a global appeal with emphasis on the Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Asia. The Museum will also become a creative platform for artists from different countries.

14. Zayed National Museum

Zayed National Museum

Zayed National Museum is devoted to sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. The museum designed by Foster + Partners architectural bureau will tell the sheikh’s history and provide the exhibits that show his values and beliefs. It will be located in Saadiyat Cultural District. The visitors will have a chance to study the changes in the environment over millions of years and the development of resources that influenced the society, trade, and economy over time.

15. Dubai’s Reefs

Dubai’s Reefs

Dubai’s reefs will change the eco-tourism in the city. The aim is to create the world’s largest artificial reef that will be home to more than 1 billion corals and 100 million mangrove trees. The project will encompass the area of 200 sq. km. and include the objects for sea research and educational infrastructure. 

There are also possibilities for hotel business and retail trade. The visitors will be able to have a rest in floating houses that fully rely on renewable sources of energy. One more peculiarity of the project is the regenerative ocean agriculture, a safe eco-friendly method of food production.

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