As part of our ongoing summer series, we will be looking back at some of the most colourful and extraordinary proposals pitched in the UAE and the wider Gulf and investigating what happened to them.
In the last few weeks, we have looked at plans for an underwater tennis stadium pitched by a Polish architect; Hollywood actor Brad Pitt’s ideas for a series of environmentally-friendly projects; a Swedish firm’s designs for a moving statue; a Chinese team’s ambitions for a technologically advanced neighbourhood in the shape of a globe; a Hong Kong designer’s vision of a heart-shaped water park containing the world’s highest water slide; and a former president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia’s dream of a city with towers shaped like a chessboard.
We also looked at plans for an underwater TV studio and a crystal ball-shaped football museum in time for the 2022 World Cup; a tower in Abu Dhabi with a futuristic exterior that changes with the surrounding environment; a range of theme parks dedicated to the classic Herbie movie franchise; popular Belgian comic stars The Smurfs and the Universal Studios franchise; a tower named after Formula One driver Michael Schumacher; and an environmentally-friendly hotel to be designed by Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson.
Today, we are looking at a Dubai tower promoted by English footballer and current Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
Launched in late 2008, just as the global financial crisis was about to wash over Dubai, the Azizi Crystal tower was referred in some media reports as the Steven Gerrard Tower as it was claimed the Liverpool footballer had been promised a free flat worth £1 million ($1.21 million) in order to endorse it at a launch party at London’s prestigious Dorchester Hotel.
Developer Azizi Developments said the launch event was a massive success and generated sales of more than AED150 million ($40.8 million), according to a report at the time by The National.
“I am truly privileged to be part of such a pioneering project,” Gerrard was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo website at the launch of the $100m tower.
When contacted by Arabian Business, a spokesperson for Azizi Developments confirmed that the tower had been “stopped”.
“We have returned all investments to our customers – sales were over AED600 million, AED150 million of which were collected and then refunded. We, as well as the Dubai Land Department, have records of all the refunds,” the spokesperson added.
Afterwards, Gerrard went back to his first love – football – and continued to play for Liverpool until 2015, when he moved to LA Galaxy in the United States, before finally retiring in 2016 and moving into management, with Rangers.
Azizi Developments successfully overcame the challenges presented by the downturn in 2008/9 and this month will be back in London, at the Marriott Hotel Park Lane, to host a special roadshow of its flagship projects in Dubai. The developer said it aims to complete approximately 4,000 units by the end of 2019. One of its biggest projects is Azizi Riviera in Meydan, which features over 16,000 homes, a 1.6km retail boulevard, as well as a 2.6km canal walk with artisan eateries and boutiques.
Coming up next week: The best of the rest
Check out the other projects in the series:
Universal Studios Dubailand (below)
Are there any projects from the past you would like Arabian Business to investigate? Contact us with your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org