Dubai: The all-important infrastructure works at the Dubai Expo 2020 site are likely to be completed by late 2018, with the organisers working to turn the site into a business hub after the Expo concludes.

Ahmad Al Khatib, the Expo’s Vice-President for Real Estate, said construction works are progressing according to schedule.

“We started the infrastructure [work] in mid-2016. We have two major infrastructure packages, and both will be completed by the end of 2018.

“As far as the thematic districts, the construction is ongoing, the progress is as per plan. And our plan is to get the three thematic districts completed by October 2019.”

The Expo organisers plan to award a total of Dh11.5 billion worth of contracts this year. Once the infrastructure is done, other countries that will participate at the Expo will bring in their own contractors and designers to build their plots.

“So far, the agreed date with the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions), the regulator for Expos, is to give access to the other countries by early 2018. So the countries will come and start building their pavilions by early 2018, and they will have access to their own plots,” he said.

Al Khatib was talking to “Gulf News” ahead of Cityscape Global.

The Expo 2020 is participating at the event to showcase its plans for the site once the event concludes. Over 120 countries are expected to take part in the Expo 2020, with the likes of France, the UK and the Netherlands having confirmed participation.

Expo 2020 is set to kick off on October 20, 2020 and conclude in April 2021. When the event wraps up, the Expo site will be turned into “District 2020”, which will house residential and commercial units as well as retail.
While most Expo sites tend to be temporary and taken down after the event, organisers in Dubai are retaining most of the Expo site, and will turn parts into a museum and an Exhibition Centre. They are also currently working on attracting businesses to set up at District 2020.

In April 2017, Siemens AG, the manufacturing and electronics company, announced it will set up its global headquarters for airports, cargo, and ports logistics in Dubai.

It will use the Expo 2020 site as the location after the event concludes in April 2021.
Al Khatib said Expo is also in talks with other companies about having a presence at the site. He did not disclose more details as deals are yet to be finalised.

Organisers said the District will include 65,000 square metres of residential space and 135,000 square metres for, and support the development of Dubai’s economy.

“When the Expo finishes, there will be a lot of work to transition the [site] from the event mode to the legacy mode. We will remove the temporary works for the event, and then there will be some modifications to some of the buildings. More than 80 per cent of what we’re building for the Expo are remaining,” Al Khatib said.
He expects the development to be ready for use six to nine months after the event concludes.
“We made sure in the design phase for those buildings that they are designed for those uses; we know which ones are the residential buildings and which are commercial. So, post-Expo, it will be more of a transition period where we will bring contractors just to execute the work,” Al Khatib said.


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