As the Meydan Grandstand and Hotel prove...
In a land where so many icons exist that, paradoxically, icons now struggle to exist, a wounded construction industry has proven that it's work is not yet done. While Dubai has suffered greatly in the financial crash, the completion of its latest grand design has proven that not all is lost.
Meydan Grandstand and Hotel welcomed their first guests in the opening week of the races at the end of January. The centrepiece of the Dubai Racing Club (DRC), the grandstand spans 1.5 kilometres and can accommodate up to 60,000 visitors. Racing is big business in Dubai and the addition of the Grandstand has made it more so, with the prize money for the winning jockey of the Dubai World Cup increased to US$30million as a result of the build.
But like a good porche, nothing in Dubai looks right without a bit of polish - in the DRC, that polish is the Meydan Hotel. Following in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track-side Yas hotel, project consultants Teo A. Khing (TAK) of Malaysia have helped to deliver the world's first five star track-side hotel at the races. Curving around the periphery of the racetrack 95% of the 290 rooms and suites in the hotel benefit from their location with an unobstructed view of the races. With enormous proportions the hotel incorporates high end restaurants, the Meydan Museum and Gallery, a spa, an IMAX Theatre and the Meydan Marina which itself contains shops and restaurants. A covered car park accommodates up to 8,600 cars. All for a tidy US$1.3billion.
With reports that flagship company Dubai World is sinking the news that this project has completed, let alone on time, may come as a surprise. But what's more surprising is that the DRC project is just one of several project incorporated in the 200 million sq ft Meydan City masterplan. Also under construction are the 3.7 million sq m Meydan Horizons business and residential park costing approx US$2.1 billion; Meydan City Metropolis with an expansive commercial, retail and
residential mix; and Godolphin Parks whose centrepiece is a 40-storey mixed use tower with a thoroughbred horse-shaped void cut through its middle. It seems Dubai will not let the dust settle just yet.
Niki May Young