In the end JBR turned from ugly duckling into a slightly clumsy swan, with a gammy knee, unable to run at full speed.
For the longest time many residents found it all a bit of a nightmare. A community of "luxury" towers built facing one of Dubai's best stretches of beach, with 1.7 km of cafes and stores running along the shoreline, interspersed with 5* hotels, all nestling at their feet, JBR promised much to the many that bought and rented apartments in the area. For a while it delivered on the promise. Then two things happened. First, everyone in proximity to new Dubai recognized it was a fantastic place to come on a weekend overloading the area with cars and people. Then developers, recognizing the popularity, decided to spend several billion dollars paving Paradise to put up multiple parking lots to service multiple new "destinations".
As a result, a community that offered something truly quite spectacular, became almost impossible to get in and out of. Uninterrupted views and access to the beach and sea were blocked by a construction yard city. Residents complained of not being able to sleep by cars honking their horns 24 hours a day, and worse, every time they themselves get on the road, their life is in danger from frustrated drivers taking incredible risks to gain 2mm of road space.
The sort of light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of the 3 billion AED Al Sufouh Tram project, which connects the area with Dubai's impressive Metro project. The Al Sufouh Tramway will extend 14.6km along Al Sufouh Road with the first phase now open - a 10.6km track from Dubai Marina to a station near the Police Academy, linking up to the Dubai Metro at three stations along Sheikh Zayed Road, and to the Palm Jumeirah Monorail. The tram opened on time, and has proved popular-ish. Some who had given up on the idea of going to JBR have now started to return. However residents themselves say while good for tourists, the metro is slow to the point of being pointless for commuting, and that it has made traffic congestion even worse.
Jumeirah Beach Residences itself consists of 40 towers with 6,500 housing units. There are in addition four hotel towers, giving the area a capacity of 10,000 people. That may sound like quite enough already for a thin strip of land, but JBR is part of the Marina area which itself can host 120,000 people (although according to the latest population census - in 2012 - 'only' 25,000 actually do. (This is likely to be revised up significantly)) .
The area is already packed with some of Dubai's best hotels, bars and restaurants, and the area's new developments just add more. The Beach project is a beachfront mall, between the Sheraton hotel and the Hilton, that includes a further 70 retail, food, drink and entertainment outlets across four distinct low-rise plazas. There is also now a large cinema complex offering ten screens, including one outdoor screen, a beach club, a park, and a watersports hub. It opened in Spring 2014.
Construction has also begun on the 6 billion Bluewaters project, with the focal point set to be the Dubai Eye, which will be the world’s largest Ferris wheel. Located just off the coast of JBR, on its own island, it will include retail, residential, hospitality and entertainment zones.
If that is not enough off water projects, the announcement of a port just off the JBR coast means goodbye to uninterrupted sea views, and welcome to Dubai's latest lagoon...
The JBR area does not contain any schools, although there are nurseries in the area. Schools are geographically close by in neighboring areas of Dubai, however given traffic issues, distance does not correlate into ease of access.