Waterfront homes and floating restaurants in the heart of downtown are part of Dubai’s latest effort to enhance its attraction as a tourist destination.
Marasi Business Bay, built along a canal extending into the city center is to be completed in five to seven years, state-owned developer Dubai Properties Group said in a presentation on Tuesday. The 1 billion-dirham ($272 million) development will include a 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) promenade, a yacht club, park and more than 100 shops.
“This is unique because it’s not a seafront destination,” Naaman Atallah, chief executive officer of Dubai Properties told reporters. “It’s in the middle of the city. It’s downtown.”
Dubai is aiming to boost the number of tourists it attracts to 20 million by 2020 and is pressing ahead with hotels and leisure and entertainment venues. The city is continuing to expand its offerings even though the strength of the U.S. dollar, to which the local currency is pegged, has hurt demand from some key markets such as Russia and the U.K.
Marasi will be built on a canal that will extend Dubai’s waterfront space. It’s designed to include 150 to 200 homes, beach clubs and 1,250 berthing spaces for boats, he said.
Dubai Holding, the developer’s parent company, has plans for more than 10 billion dirhams of development on top of the five billion dirhams of projects it has under construction, CEO Fadel Al Ali said. The project will be funded by the firm, he said. The waterside promenade will include 250,000 square meters (2.7 million square feet) of parks and open spaces as well as 16,000 square meters of shops and retail outlets.