Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has issued pre-qualification documents to companies looking to develop the five-tower Union Oasis project above the Union Square metro station.
The call for bidders to register for the project kick-starts what will be the first scheme to be completed under Dubai’s new public-private partnership regime, which is set to take effect on November 19.
Under the Union Oasis project, the five mixed-use towers will be built on a site above one of Dubai’s busiest metro station. Last year, about 9 million passengers used the station, which is one of the main interchanges for the Green and Red lines.
The towers will occupy 14,662 square metres of a total plot size of 37,885 sq metres.
They will be connected at podium level and can consist of four basements, a ground and mezzanine level, and up to 20 storeys above ground. They can include a mix of commercial, office, residential, retail and hospitality space.
An information memorandum sent to developers in August said the site had been dedicated to the metro’s construction in recent years, but its temporary loss “has left the surrounding districts … unconnected and unsupported”.
It said Deira “has the potential to be known as the original downtown” of Dubai. As a result, any proposed scheme had to be “exceptional” and reflect the area’s heritage.
The memorandum also highlighted the attractiveness of the terms for developers, who would lease the site for a 30-year period (excluding the three years it will take to build).
They are not required to make an upfront contribution for land acquisition, they can take partial rent holidays in line with occupancy levels during the first seven years of operation, and they will be offered flexibility over the mix of uses.
A source close to the project said the RTA was inviting interested bidders for one-to-one meetings with its project team to discuss the features and commercial aspects of the project.
“The RTA is open for suggestions and structures that developers think will improve the commerciality of the project,” said the source.
“What the RTA is trying to do is to make the project more collaborative, rather than just setting up the structure and presenting it to the market.”
Developers looking to participate need to register their interest by December 3. The RTA will then issue the tenders with a bidding deadline for next April. The successful bidder, or bidders, will be selected by the end of next May.