10/06/2009 05:45 PM | By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor
Dubai: District 49, a multi-billion dirham mixed-use project is being conceptualised near Zabeel Park by Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC) as a mark of tribute to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said one of the concept designers associated with the project, which will also go by the abbreviation D49.
The project has been named D49 to commemorate the year of birth of Shaikh Mohammad, who was born on July 22, 1949, said Anna Klingmann, principal of Klingmann Architects, a New York-based masterplanner and brand consultant.
The project's assets won't be offered on freehold, but on a rental basis.
Located next to the Etisalat building near the Trade Centre roundabout, the project is planned around a 'high density' neighbourhood that will be be accessible by the Dubai Metro, besides tram and bus services.
The development will take up part of the existing car parking lot created for a section of the Zabeel Park, next to the Emarat petrol pump.
"District 49 embraces the courageous story of Dubai which is intricately interwined with the Al Maktoum family - a legacy of forward thinking and brave leaders who confidently overcame the difficult political and economic challenges time and time again to make Dubai a safe haven for all people," Klingmann, who is also a brand consultant, said.
"More specifically, D49 honours the efforts of Shaikh Mohammad."
The project, yet to be formally announced, will be a pedestrian-friendly community spread across 700,000 square metres. It is being showcased at the Cityscape exhibition, which started yesterday.
"It will have a retail, commercial, residential and hotel components," Klingmann said.
The development is based on a design concept that is inspired by Arabian culture and incorporates a fusion of Islamic calligraphy and French renaissance architecture, she said.
"In the boulevard area, an open space has been designed in such a way that, when viewed from the top, shows an Arabic script that says many things in Arabic," Klingmann said.
"That area is split among the Garden of Hamdan and Garden of Mansour, etc."
Branding a project based on themes is not new. Analysts say branding strengthens a project's brand value and help market it.
Sudhir Kumar, managing director of Realtors' International, told Gulf News, "Branding strengthens project's profile and helps developers to promote. It gives a project an identity and what it stands for. It brings aura and vigour to the project and helps boost investor confidence.
"In the case of D49, the theme and branding will help the developers to promote it well as it is linked to Dubai's Rulers."
Officials of DREC, the project's owner and developer, weren't available for comment.