The Big Project takes a tour of Damac’s 49-storey Burjside Boulevard development, under construction in Downtown Dubai
?Since the concept was delivered in 2007, progress on Damac’s Burjside Boulevard has been rapid, with construction beginning in March 2010 and interior fit-outs due to begin early 2012.
On Damac’s first serviced apartments, the developer is responsible for both the frame and fixtures, fittings and equipment (FFE).
“During the construction period we are keen to get the building pushed on as quickly as possible. There is a committed programme but we are pushing to work ahead,” explains senior vice president of projects John McNamara.
Speaking onsite during the casting of the first residential floor, McNamara details how the project has evolved since the initial design phase; from moving the outdoor pool to offer “exclusive” views of the Burj Khalifa, to eliminating the building’s damper.
???Due to the slenderness of the building and the sway we had to do more than the usual windtunnel modelling”
“Due to the slenderness of the building and the sway, we had to do more than the usual wind-tunnel modelling. We worked with an Australian company, Windtech, which produced a study concluding it was possible to eliminate the damper, making the design much more efficient. We wouldn’t usually go to that extent and it’s a process that takes time.”
One element which exceeded timescale expectations was laying the slabs; reducing the cycle from 28 to eight days. McNamara credits the speed of the phase to additional resources, double shifting and specialist formwork.
“We double shifted the labourers as it coincided with the hottest months, but because there are no neighbouring buildings we were able to use table formwork for the slabs and jump formwork for the core wall.”
Designed by German architect Koschany & Zimmer, enabling works; site mobilisation, fencing, excavation, shoring and piling, were completed by Norwegian firm Stromek. An AED 200 million contract was awarded to Sun Engineering; the project’s main contractors.
Number of apartments in the project
Upon completion, the 49-storey building will feature 39 residential storeys; a dedicated leisure floor with pool, restaurant, lounge and views of the Burj Khalifa. Residents in the 351, five-star furnished apartments, will also have fully-equipped kitchens and access to all the standard hotel services.
“Bridging the divide between high-end residential apartments and luxury five-star hotels”, the development is aimed at Dubai’s transient population; long-term business travellers and short-term residents, who can buy or lease Burjside’s apartments.
?Because there are no neighbouring buildings we were able to use table formwork for the slabs and jump formwork for the core wall”
As the developer’s first serviced apartment project, Burjside Boulevard marks a diversification for Damac’s Dubai-based operations. From its portfolio of “luxury”, residential, leisure and commercial developments, to one which combines elements of each.
“Burjside Boulevard fits with Damac’s current business plans, because it’s a very different property model. We are giving our investors more choice over their investment,;they can buy an apartment to live in, buy it as a rental investment or live in it some of the time and rent it out for the rest,” says Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president, Damac Properties.
While it is no secret the market has experienced huge turbulence since the project was first initiated, Damac maintains that demand for such multi-purpose facilities remains strong, particularly among the emirate’s many business travellers.
Explaining that the development offers “important investment choices” McLaughlin also says it provides an alternative avenue of investment for future clients.
Height of the Burjside Boulevard
“Every project in Dubai has been impacted by the global downturn, however, there is always demand for quality developments in premium areas. Prices in the Downtown district have been very resilient, mostly because demand has remained robust,” he says, adding that the company has not faced the same funding issues as other developers.
The area is also one of only a few in Dubai for which developers can still secure finance; other areas banks consider low risk include Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Business Bay and Dubai Marina.
Naming 2009 the “year of construction”, Damac won contracts to the value of US $1 billion. Currently the developer has more than 12,000 units across the Middle East and North Africa at various stages of construction, with seven in Dubai alone due for handover in 2011.
Total built-up area: 686,242ft²
Average formwork cycle: eight days
Time taken to lay slabs: eight days
Architect: Koschany and Zimmer Architekten
Main contractor: Sun Engineering
Consultant: ZAS PSE Engineering Est.
Concrete: Emirates Beton
Steel: Attieh Steel, Dubai
Construction software: E Builder
Wind-tunnel testing: Windtech
Other projects include Executive Heights in TECOM, Dubai; Lake View and Lake Terrace, both Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, and the recently announced Damac Tower, Lebanon; to be developed in association with Versace.
“We have awarded contracts worth $1 billion, including 15 in Dubai, two in Abu Dhabi and one main contract in Saudi Arabia,” McLaughlin adds.
While no completion date has been set, the schedule for Burjside Boulevard will see the frame completed in 2011, with FFE beginning next year.
A phased occupation will follow to “allow the project to get up and running”.
With so many luxury developments in Dubai failing to sell or folding before completion, McLaughlin credits a combination of originality and reputation as the USPs that will secure Burjside’s success in what has been described as a saturated market.
Maintaining that Dubai is “the most favoured location” for multinational corporations, he adds that demand does, and will continue, to exist
“Dubai’s future is assured,” comments McLaughlin, adding: “It’s at the gateway to Africa, Europe, Asia and the CIS States, and has secured its position as a regional finance, trade and logistics hub, and not only that, but it offers a unique and idyllic lifestyle.”
“We are aiming to do something very different at Burjside Boulevard; we want to create the type of home our customers have always dreamed of. Everything from the decor, to superior-quality linen and top-of-the-range appliances will be incorporated.”
“There is no better site that hasn’t already been developed,” says McLaughlin.