Having one of the most visible construction sites in Dubai can be both a blessing and a curse.
For developer Ishraqah, at times it may have seemed a lot like the latter. Its location – facing onto Sheikh Zayed Road, between Emaar Business Park and the entrance to The Greens residential community – is probably only surpassed by the huge Al Habtoor City site further down the road in terms of noticeability – either from the city’s busiest thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, or from the packed Metro trains which tootle past both.
Indeed, its prominence has proved to be a challenge logistically, with restrictions not only on getting goods onto the site, but also on how and when they can be moved around. Moreover, there have been periods where activity on the site has slowed to a standstill. Yet the developer and its contractor, Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC), have been on a fast-track implementation programme working on phase II of the project since July last year, and as structural works near completion, the project is becoming its own, constantly evolving, billboard for potential investors and tenants interested in its offices, residential units and even the passing trade for its restaurants and shops.
Ishraqah, which is a partnership between Saudi companies Zahran Group and Bin Mahfouz Group, first announced plans for the site in 2007.
Arabtec was initially appointed as contractor in July 2009, but its agreement was terminated by the November, with the developer citing a “failure to meet certain contractual requirements”.
It began talks with ASGC in the same month and signed a contract with the company to complete the main building works in January 2010.
The firm also had an issue with one of its project consultants, which had its licence suspended by Dubai Municipality. This led to the firm recruiting Saffarini as its new project consultant, which also meant delays in gaining a new construction permit.
The first phase contained all of the substructure works for the project, which consists of three towers sharing a common podium. Three separate rafts needed to be cast for each tower and their lift cores.
Piling work completed in May 2010 and the bulk of the substructure was ready by 2011. However, there were some delays to the project, with work restarting in September 2012 as the market recovered.
Both Ishraqah and ASGC have been keen to make progress since, though. The contract for phase two of the works, which includes all of the construction above ground, was signed on 21 July 2013 and the substructure of all three towers is expected to complete by the end of November, with an anticipated completion date for the whole project of the fourth quarter of 2015.
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