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December 17, 2013

MiddleEast: Dubai unveils US$3 billion city project

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Dubai’s brand new US$3 billion (AED11 billion) Al Habtoor City project unveiled by the Al Habtoor Group last month will transform the city’s Business Bay and Dubai Water Canal area into a meetings and incentives ‘destination within a destination’, a local hotelier has claimed. 

The entertainment and hospitality development, which will span 10 million square feet on Sheikh Zayed Road and involve an extension of the canal, which already runs into Business Bay, will lure big international meetings business, according to Rupprecht Queitsch, General Manager of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which will boast 1,608 rooms in total when its second tower opens next year. 
“The extension of the canal will take place outside our hotel and create a destination that is a dream for meeting planners,” he said. “With existing and new hotel inventory combined, meetings and entertainment facilities, plus the location, which is very close to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), the area will become very important in terms of meetings business.” 
Al Habtoor City is the first project to be built on Dubai Water Canal ‑ a multi‑billion-dirham project connecting the Business Bay area to the Arabian Gulf, which is scheduled to open in 2017. 
It will comprise three Starwood Hotels and Resorts properties carrying the W, Westin and St. Regis brands, plus three residential blocks comprising 1,460 luxury apartments and 11 penthouses, including two VIP penthouses over a four‑storey podium. 
Additional features include the first standalone theatre in the Middle East – a draw card for event planners seeking such a venue – as well as the first Bentley Cafe in the world. 
It will also house a permanent water‑themed attraction designed by Franco Dragone, a tennis academy with a clubhouse and a classical French-style landscaped garden.
 “Al Habtoor City is a very unique project,” said Al Habtoor Group Chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor. “The 10‑million‑squarefoot development, erected on a plot of approximately one million square feet, will feature three world‑class hotel brands – including the first‑ever St. Regis in Dubai – plus it will have the added attraction of spectacular entertainment.” 
When completed in 2016, Al Habtoor City, built on the same site as Metropolitan Hotel, demolished last year, will attract 20,000 visitors daily and up to 7.3 million annually, said a company statement. 

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