District One (D1) at Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) City is one of the newest residential districts to open in Dubai. Positioned at the luxury end of the residential market, the gated community offers large villas, mansions and apartments that will be built around a lagoon. Residents have already started moving in the villas since last year, while the 16 apartment buildings that are part of phase three are expected to be ready starting late next year.

Unlike other communities catering to the same niche, D1 is a lot more accessible. It is a short drive to Downtown Dubai, for instance, and is close to major arteries such as Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road.

The man-made lagoon is one of the key attractions of District One

French art dealer and advisor David Bel, who arrived in Dubai a few months ago, says the neighbourhood ticks all the right boxes. “I wanted to live in a place that is safe, pleasant and green, easy to live in and close to all the main facilities,” says Bel.

“D1 met all my requirements. The project has abundant green spaces, the world’s largest man-made lagoon, cycle paths, secure entry, full maintenance and assistance. Soon there will be a supermarket for the community.”

Bel is renting a five-bedroom villa of over 700 sq m. The unit has a pool and also doubles as a private gallery for some of Bel’s art collection. “I love the location and plan to purchase a property in D1 at the end of my rental period,” he says. “I have been living in this area for eight weeks now, and I am already seeing some changes in a neighbourhood with more houses now being inhabited.”

Easy access

For Dr Jamil Ahmed, a Dubai resident for over two decades who moved into a five-bedroom contemporary villa at D1 in December, accessibility was a crucial factor in his decision. “D1 is a perfect choice for people wanting a sense of tranquillity while staying within the heart of the city,” says Dr Ahmed, founder and owner of a health care group in Dubai, who lives in the property with his wife, Dr Tasneem. “Living in a central location is important for us as it makes it very convenient to visit all our branches. D1 community has everything the family needs. For someone who loves the outdoors, the walking and cycling tracks are very convenient.”

Mohamed Jeelani, who has lived in a contemporary five-bedroom villa with a garden and Burj Khalifa view for almost a year, says the lifestyle element was the main attraction for his family. “We chose the place for the design, the concept of the water lagoon and beautiful contemporary villas that have abundant natural light,” says Jeelani, an IT and telecom business owner. “The project gives a resort feeling and luxurious living experience. The whole project offers an excellent investment opportunity for those who desire returns.

However, Jeelani says the maintenance fee is one of the downsides at D1. “It is very high by all standards,” he says. “Low maintenance charges will always invite interest for investment.”

D1 is a good choice for professionals and businesspeople who work in and around the central business districts such as Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Business Bay, Downtown Dubai and along Shaikh Zayed Road. “It is located at the heart of Meydan, alongside the world’s finest race course, nine-hole pay-and-play golf course, school, hospital, tennis academy, Imax theatre and the five-star The Meydan hotel, with its many dining, social, meeting and event facilities,” says Riyaz Merchant, CEO of Realty Force. “All these make the place a top luxury address in Dubai.”

Amenities

Merchant says the community is attracting both homebuyers and investors. “This place is a great value for money with the location, access to schools, build quality, distribution of space within the villas and the Burj Khalifa views,” he says. “The current market environment makes it a great investment for any gated community that is in the heart of the city. The four- and five-bedroom villas are my personal favourite for the perfect space for a small family.”

According to Merchant, upcoming amenities are also a major selling point, including The Meydan One, which will break at least five world records with the 711m tall Dubai One Tower, the Meydan One Mall, a 1.2km ski slope that is three times the size of Ski Dubai, a civic plaza with the world’s longest dancing water features and a “one-of-a-kind” heritage village.

“There are just three premium developments that have contemporary-style, brand-new villas that are ready to occupy besides D1 — Meydan, Dubai Hills and Jumeirah Golf Estate,” says Merchant.

Around 500 apartments have been announced so far at D1, according to Ozan Demir, director of operations and research at Reidin. When the project is completed, Demir says D1 will rival the existing VIP residential addresses in Dubai such as the Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills and Dubai Hills Estate.

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