It’s just over five years until Expo 2020 opens in Dubai. The UAE Government has announced that it has started issuing tenders for infrastructure projects from the first quarter of 2015, at an expected investment cost of AED 23-32 billion (US$ 6-9 billion). Meanwhile several ambitious projects are in hand.
Being constructed now
Dubai Water Canal – This will connect the Business Bay with the Gulf passing through the heart of Dubai. The development will include a 50,000 sq.m mall and a large park, plus two road bridges and five pedestrian bridges.
Al Habtoor City – The massive development on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai will incorporate more than 3,000 hotel and residential units on one plot including three branded hotels.
Deira Islands – These are a group of artificial islands on the Dubai coastline, near Dubai International Airport. It will include a 30,000-seater amphitheatre, a large marina and enough land to build 23,000 hotel rooms.
New hotels of 3-4 stars
The Dubai Government has introduced significant reforms to stimulate the delivery of 3 and 4-star hotels. The pre-approval process for private developers has been cut from 6 to 2 months and fees previously levied for ‘change of use of land’ for hotel usage have been scrapped.
The Expo 2020 site
This is a 4.3 million square-meter (438-hectare) plot that is strategically located between Dubai and Abu Dhabi – the two major emirates of the UAE. The Expo 2020 site will include 700,000 square meters of pavilions and other venue space, as well as 500,000 square meters of permanent structures.
Upgrading energy supply
With the anticipated influx of 25 million visitors in 2020, Dubai’s electricity consumption is expected to reach 9.6 gigawatts – a 50 percent jump from 2012 levels. Dubai is currently developing the second phase of its 100 megawatt solar park. The first phase was opened in October 2013.
Abu Dhabi has embarked on an AED 110 billion (US$30 billion) plan to construct the first nuclear power plants in the UAE. The pioneer plant is due for completion in 2017. All four are expected to be operational by 2020, producing 5,600 MW of nuclear energy. This is 25% of the UAE’s expected energy needs.
With time in hand
The Dubai Government says that the Expo 2020 master plan remains on track. The target date for completion of all major construction activities is October 2019, allowing for a full year of readiness testing across networks, systems and technologies.