Khaleej Times - 13/5/2006
Dubai Properties, a Dubai holding Company, yesterday unveiled Dubai's latest tourist landmark — the Dh50 billion Culture Village —which will be built along the Dubai Creek.
Inspired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the magnificent complex, spread over an area of 40 million square feet next to Garhoud Bridge, is envisaged to be a unique development with year-round world class cultural events that blend Middle Eastern history with the rich heritage of Dubai.
Unveiling, what is billed as the world's first such facility that offers an elite lifestyle in an intellectually stimulating environment, Hashim Al Dabal, CEO of Dubai Properties, said the launch of Culture Village is in line with the economic and commercial development of Dubai and answers the need for culture and art to flourish in parallel.
The mega new tourist attraction was unveiled within 10 days after the launch of yet another breathtaking hospitality and tourism development — the Dh100 billion Bawadi — by Tatweer, another Dubai Holding company. While Bawadi will feature the world's largest hotel as well as the biggest concentration of leading hotels in the world offering a total of more than 2,900 rooms, the Culture Village is intended to be a world-class destination that mixes old-world pleasures and entertainment with a modern, sophisticated ambiance.
"Culture Village will be a tourist landmark that will attract culture and art lovers from all over the world. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed initiated the development of Culture Village because of the important role that culture and arts play in developing nations. The project will add diversity to the cultural and art scene in the UAE and the region," Al Dabal said.
Tourist industry sources, reacting to the launch of Culture Village, said the new project underscores Dubai's determination to sustain its profile as a sought-after holiday destination. "Dubai is not just one of the seven emirates but a destination by itself," the sources said.
Al Dabal said the project is unique as it focuses on one of the most important pillars of civilization. "It is designed to enhance the UAE's position regionally and internationally in the field of culture and the arts."
Culture Village will feature wide open spaces, traditional wind towers, cobble stone walkways, unique sculptures, waterways topped with bridges, creekside souks, restaurants and cafes, an amphitheatre for live performances and cultural festivals, an exhibition hall and museums, and a dockyard where traditional dhow building will be on display. It will offer an inspired mix of Arabic and old Dubai architecture. Murals, sculptures and pottery will adorn the facades of buildings and street corners.
Culture Village's master plan has been divided into residential, commercial and retail zones with hospitality and entertainment sub-districts.
The residential district will feature traditional low to medium-rise buildings offering studio, one, two, three, and four-bedroom apartments with contemporary interiors, including loft-style apartments with work areas.
Al Dabal said the commercial district will house cultural institutions, schools, academies for art, music, dance, pottery and other crafts. World class infrastructure and facilities will be available for each organisation. The retail district will feature luxury hotels, designer boutique-style restaurants and coffee shops, as well as rare book shops and art and craft galleries. A rustic traditional souk, offering Arabian crafts, antiques, and spices and herbs, will be the focal point of the retail district.
"We have already been approached by a number of international designers and retailers, specialising in unique artistic crafts and merchandising, interested in setting up boutiques in Culture Village. The retail district will be a unique shopping experience," said Al Dabal. Culture Village has been master planned as the most exclusive address in Dubai. It is expected to appeal to both local and international investors.