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City of wonder

Until recently, the only thing wondered about Falcon City of Wonders was if it would ever be completed. Six years after its launch, The Big Project speaks with company CEO and chairman Salem Al Moosa about building through a downturn

Until recently, the only thing wondered about Falcon City of Wonders was if it would ever be completed. Six years after its launch, The Big Project speaks with company CEO and chairman Salem Al Moosa about building through a downturn

 

Launched in September 2005, the US$1.5 billion Falcon City of Wonders is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious projects ever embarked upon in the UAE. Located on Emirates Road on a plot measuring more than 41,000,000 square feet, the concept unites life-size replicas of the seven wonders of the world; from the Eiffel Tower to the hanging gardens of Babylon, in one mega-development.

Built in the shape of a falcon, the emblem of the UAE, and incorporating the most famous sites of New York, Egypt, Beirut, Pisa and India, the development is designed to attract every interest, age group and nationality.

“Falcon City is a mega project; it is commercial, residential, retail and it’s a self contained city,” says Falcon City chairman and CEO Salem Al Moosa.

“You can call it the city of wonders, the city of civilisation, you can say it is the world in a city.

“You can say anything and it will apply to it,” he continues.

Originally planned as part of Dubai Land, the project has hit a number of setbacks, due in part – according to Al Moosa – to shaken investor confidence, triggered by the global economic downturn.
To date, Al Moosa says all underground infrastructure – i.e. phase one, which was due for completion
in 2006 – is now complete.
Some residential villas are now occupied and show homes are open for viewing. A 132Kv power station, water

supply, sewerage, storm water, communications and cabling are ready and plots of land are now available for developers to buy and begin building on.

The succeeding four phases will overlap and Al Moosa says the marketing plan for the development will be revisited in the near future, with input from the Dubai government to coordinate the logistics of the project and promote it as a tourism destination.
Further news of the subsequent phases of development is reportedly due soon, according the developer’s public relations department.

The vision

Upon its launch six years ago, the developers reported that the city “significantly complements” the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to transform Dubai into one of the world’s leading tourist destinations; not least by combining the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

“When Falcon City is complete will offer a single solution; you can take a picture with a pyramid, or go to a wedding in the Taj Mahal Hotel. All these buildings are commercially feasible and the city will accommodate in the day time something like 70,000 population, night time will be about 25,000 to 30,000,” Al Moosa explains. Today, the Falcon City vision is not just about Dubai retaining its place among the world’s elite tourism destinations, it’s about building out of a downturn; the chain reaction of providing jobs, sustaining development and above all defying critics.

In the past Al Moosa has been particularly vocal about the importance of using the development to attract foreign investors to the UAE, and also promote the new real estate regulations that today make the project more attractive.

“The foreign investors are still cautious about Dubai but I think that when you tell them about their rights and protection under the new regulations they come. I hope that this development can encourage investment from all corners,” Al Moosa says.

It’s a message that has been echoed at each of the exhibitions the project has been showcased at; namely every CityScape in the UAE since 2005.

“These projects are meant for all sectors of the economy and if you don’t have support in a project it won’t work,” he continues.

“For example a car and its tyres. You can manufacture a car but if you cannot get the tyres from somewhere what are you going to do, walk? You need the guy who makes the tyre, you need the guy who makes the battery, you need the guy that makes the upholstery and then you need somebody to service it after you finish.

“The complimentary items are the other industries of development and then that sort of vehicle needs to be maintained
properly, otherwise it will break in no time,” he concludes.

The wonders
• Dubai Eiffel Tower
• Dubai Grand Pyramid
• Dubai Taj Mahal
• The Tower of Pisa
• Dubai Hanging Gardens of Babylon
• The Great wall
• Theme Park
• Tower of Venice
• Falcon City Mall
• Falcon City Towers

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