(from gulfnews.com Published: 13/02/2007 12:00 AM (UAE) )
Private investors encouraged to help preserve heritage
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter
Dubai: Private investors have been invited to restore historic buildings in Dubai as part of Dubai Municipality's ambitious plan to preserve 'old Dubai'.
"We are encouraging private sector companies and individuals to invest in projects for the restoration of historic buildings in Dubai on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis," said Engineer Ahmad Mahmoud Ahmad, Head of the Historic Building Section at Dubai Municipality.
He told Gulf News yesterday on the sidelines of the Architectural Conservation Conference being held in Dubai, that the Heritage Section would restore some 330 historic buildings by 2010 as part of the government's architectural conservation plans.
"These buildings were constructed before 1950 and have been identified by the municipality in the old Dubai areas which fall mainly in the commercial business districts of Deira and Bur Dubai along the Creek," he said.
Ahmad said the civic body has so far restored more than 120 buildings in various parts of the emirate. He said that a new survey to identify historic buildings constructed between 1950 and 1965 has already been launched.
"Once identified, they will also be preserved," he said.
He said the heritage section gives three options to the owner of any historic building: restore and conserve it, sell it to the municipality or let the municipality restore and conserve it and recover its cost by renting it out.
"We just don't want to restore and leave these historic buildings deserted, we want activities and life in these buildings," Ahmad said.
The heritage section is seeking to promote old Dubai as a major tourist attraction. "We are discussing issues with the tourism companies to sell heritage tour packages to tourists abroad," he said.
PROJECT: Merging traditional with the modern
The Heritage Section at the Dubai Municipality has launched a project to encourage building consultants and designers to adopt the traditional architecture of Dubai.
"We are encouraging designers and consultants of towers, shopping malls and other residential and commercial projects to amalgamate traditional UAE architectural style with modern styles, while designing their projects," said Engineer Ahmad Mahmoud Ahmad, Head of the Historical Buildings Section at the Municipality.
He said tourists want to see traditional style buildings with modern facilities. "Madinat Al Jumeirah, which was built following a traditional design has become a major tourist attraction in Dubai," Ahmad said.