Feasibility assessment for ‘live-work’ offering

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority


As a result of the financial crisis that severely affected Dubai in 2008 and 2009, a number of commercial buildings were still left unoccupied in 2012. The Government of Dubai was wondering if there is an opportunity to convert some of the properties into ‘Live-Work’ buildings. ‘Live-work’ is the provision of segregated living and working accommodation in a single, self-contained unit. The scope of the study was to identify target segments, assess demand from target segments, assess attributes needed to best address market demand (e.g., cost considerations, location considerations, space requirements, parking, access) and recommend on whether there is sufficient market demand to proceed with implementing new ‘Live-Work’ regulation in Dubai Technology & Media Free Zone.

Our approach

Over a period of 10 weeks, we used primary and secondary research to develop our findings and make our recommendations. The research included three components: (1) an online survey to quantify demand for the ‘Live-Work’ concept in the region, (2) focus groups to uncover the needs of target segments and to set a guide price and (3), research to capture learnings from the experiences of UK ‘Live-Work’ developments. To support our recommendations, we also developed a financial business case assessing the financial opportunity and identified the key success factors to guide implementation.

Our impact

The study concluded that there is market demand for ‘Live-Work’ within Dubai but that the cost of conversion was high. The financial opportunity would need to be assessed on a case by case basis. The authority which commissioned the study then started to seek support from key stakeholders to change regulations to enable licensed and legal home working for some business partners. Aleron supported the development of the presentations used to communicate the proposed change in regulations and related value proposition to property developers and owners. The quality of the work done by Aleron was highly praised by all stakeholders as it provided a rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis of the key elements required to support their decision making.

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