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Car-free Sustainable City to open in Dubai this year

Deepthi Nair
Filed on May 1, 2015
Car-free Sustainable City to open in Dubai this year

Featuring 500 three- and four-bedroom villas spread across five gated community clusters, the five million square feet project boasts car-free zones, 250 electric car and golf buggie charging stations.

Car-free Sustainable City to open in Dubai this year (/assets/oldimages/greencity2904.jpg)

Horse carts plying the streets of Sustainable City as the residential zones are designed to be car-free. — KT photos by Mukesh Kamal

Dubai - Sustainable City, a fully integrated master community featuring renewable energy production, wastewater recycling, urban farming and solar power transportation systems, will open its doors to residents in the third quarter of this year. Conceived and built by Diamond Developers, the project is being touted as a low-carbon emission zone in Dubailand.

Featuring 500 three- and four-bedroom villas spread across five gated community clusters, the five million square feet project boasts car-free zones, 250 electric car and golf buggie charging stations, equestrian, jogging and walking tracks, a central green spine and 10,000 trees.

While the developer released and sold 300 villas, it plans to retain the remaining units for leasing. The villas are priced at Dh1,150 to Dh1,250 per square foot and command between Dh3.8 million to Dh5 million.

Also, purchasers of villas are entitled to a share in the community mall that is proportional to their home area. Mall rents, therefore, exempt them from paying service fees and maintenance fees while any surplus money goes into the emergency fund.

The villas feature north-facing windows and well-insulated walls to minimise heat gains, solar panels on rooftops to generate renewable energy, water-saving faucets and fixtures, and free energy-saving Green Star home appliances. Also, buyers get a free electric buggie with every villa purchase and a subsidy upto $10,000 for buying an electric car.

Car-free Sustainable City to open in Dubai this year (/assets/oldimages/greencity2904a.jpg)

Executive director of Diamond Developers Wassim Adlouni and Faris Saeed explaining features of Sustainable City. 

Two RTA (Road and Transport Authority) electric buses will offer residents rides upto the nearest Metro station. Also, the villa clusters are car-free zones, with solar parking shelters generating electricity for outdoor lighting in public areas.

“More than 75 per cent of electricity will be generated within the City. Residents’ Dewa bills will be to five to 30 per cent lower than a traditional utility bill,” says Faris Saeed, CEO of Diamond Developers.

A buffer zone runs all around Sustainable City, featuring four rows of trees. A central green spine traversing the development aims to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and dust and provide shelter. The urban farm will produce herbs, fruits and vegetables while 3,000 trees will be planted in 11 Greendomes. Residents will get priority for consumption of produce and surplus will be sold at the Friday Community Market.

Fitness and yoga stations, community pools, an equestrian centre with 32 stables and two recycled water lakes are other fixtures in the community.

Phase two of the community will include a sustainable mosque, an eco-resort with 143 rooms, a green school that will follow a sustainability-based curriculum, a science museum, planetarium, a country club and the Sustainability Centre for Excellence. These are scheduled to complete by the end of 2016.

A consortium of universities (University of California at Davis, American University of Sharjah, American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo and Beir Zeit University of Palestine) have agreed to conduct applied research in air and water quality at the Sustainability Centre.

Meanwhile, at the community mall, the promoters are in negotiations with Carrefour to be an anchor tenant. This mixed-use component also features 89 apartments, a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, for leasing,

“We have validated the fact that the cost of constructing sustainable developments is equivalent or even less than the cost of conventional developments,” says Emil Samarah, chief commercial officer, Diamond Developers.

Built at a cost of Dh1.2 billion, the project is partly self-financed, with investors, banks and off-plan sales pitching in the remaining amount. “We are targeting end-users. We have 25 nationalities who have purchased villas in Sustainable City,” says Saeed.

Sustainable City is the fourth project in Diamond Developers’ portfolio. Earlier projects include Marina Diamond, a cluster of seven buildings in Dubai Marina, 1,600 units in Jumeirah Village including apartments and townhouses, and four office towers in Arjan. However, this is the first project where the group is serving as a master developer.

The company has already been approached by firms in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Egypt to replicate the Sustainable City model on a much larger scale.

“Our green building indicators are much higher than Leed or Estidama. We’re creating our own benchmarks. We plan to build more affordable homes next,” adds Samarah. — deepthi@khaleejtimes.com

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