Emirates Reit to develop Canadian school in Dubai Investments Park

Emirates Reit has secured a lease on a 25,000-square-metre plot in Dubai Investments Park on which it is planning to build a school.

The real estate investment trust said that the school would cost about Dh88 million to develop. Its deal will be a sale and leaseback agreement with the British Columbia Canadian School, which will lease the school building from the trust for eight years. Emirates Reit has said that it expects to earn back an initial net income of 12 per cent of its development costs in the first year of the school’s operation.

It is planning to develop the school in two phases. When it is complete, the site will contain foundation, primary and secondary schools as well as a sports centre and an auditorium. Its built-up area will be 17,156 sq metres.

Emirates Reit said it has now allocated Dh709m, or 25.5 per cent of its entire portfolio, to investments in the education sector. Construction of its second school, the Jebel Ali School in Damac’s Akoya development off Umm Suqeim Road, finished last month.

Sylvain Vieujot, the chief executive of Emirates Reit, said: “This is Emirates Reit’s third school transaction and we are delighted to partner with the British Columbia Canadian School. We continue to believe in the strategic importance of the education sector in the UAE and this new school will be a new landmark in a fast-growing area of Dubai.”

It expects to be able to bring in students from a number of surrounding communities in a fast-developing part of the city including the Green Community, Jumeirah Golf Estates, International Media Production Zone, Dubai Sports City, Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Village Circle and Jebel Ali Village.

A study unveiled by JLL this month identified the major potential market opportunities for property developers, investors and contractors in the Middle East, stating that 1,000 new schools were needed in five Middle East cities – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo, Jeddah and Riyadh – within five years, and that 350 of these will be supplied by the private sector.

Dubai is expected to need 53 new schools, of which 36 will be from the private sector, while Abu Dhabi needs 44 – half of which will be private schools.

“The education sector has sparked the interest of many real estate investors right across the Mena region,” said, Craig Plumb, the head of research for JLL Mena.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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