Dubai is to have a structure that will be a “notch taller” than the Burj Khalifa’s 828 metres and located at the Dubai Creek Harbour in Ras Al Khor. Named “The Tower” and conceived as a monument to the city, it should cost about Dh3.65 billion, according to Emaar Properties, the developer.

Emaar did not reveal the exact height of the structure, and officials would also not be drawn into comparisons with where The Tower would stand vis-a-vis the under-development Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia and supposed to be end up at around the 1,000-metre mark.

As regards when it would be ready, the developer issued a statement stating “it will be a destination for the world to visit, enjoy and celebrate life as Dubai prepares to host the Expo 2020’. (The architect is Santiago Calatrava Valls, who also did the World Trade Centre’s Transportation Hub in New York. There were five firms shortlisted for The Tower design.)

But unlike Burj Khalifa, the new Dubai structure will not have residences or offices integrated into the structure.

But there will be room for a boutique hotel, and The Tower will be the centrepiece of a 6 square kilometre master-development that will be the Dubai Creek Harbour. It will have multiple observation decks and leisure options overlooking a sprawling city landscape.

Lifestyle location

Another destination for the Harbour — a “mega retail district” — will be announced in coming weeks and is to be connected to The Tower, which is to sit on a 500-metre radius. The intention is to create another upscale residential and lifestyle location as the Downtown, where Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall are the anchors The Downtown’s development options have been built out “to the max”, according to Mohammad Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties.

“Dubai Creek Harbour," he said, "is about double and a bit more than the Downtown and is the first time that the city is coming back to its roots. The Creek remains the core of Dubai.”

On the need to create a monument that might not materially add to its business model Al Abbar said: “So much can be done through elegance and this way we are adding something special. It’s not always about revenue models … and we have the revenues for this.

Al Abbar said he would look to finance the Dh3.65 billion in an equal mix of equity and debts. The financing and revenue model has been checked by experts and bankers, and the company will be “very comfortable” is taking on the project.

“We have already started mobilising and piling will start by end June or early July,” he added.

Off-plan sales

A lot of action has already taken place at Dubai Creek Harbour, the land for which is owned by Dubai Holding. Emaar already has off-plan sales for nine residential high-rises and with more on the way. Launch prices started in the Dh1,400-Dh1,500 a square foot.

Apart from the closeness to the Creek-line, the location is also near the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary (protected under Unesco’s Ramsar Convention and home to more than 60 species of water birds.)

Emaar’s blueprint for Dubai Creek Harbour will hew closely to what it has managed to do at the Downtown. Create signature attractions and thus create a platform for the rest of the location to fill out.

Along with MBR City, Deira Islands and Meydan One, this will be one of the key master-developments in the city.

The Dubai Creek Harbour master plan has been scaled down slightly from how it was originally envisaged. Emaar officials declined to talk about how much of the 6 square kilometres have been taken up by the launches to date and by the upcoming retail district.