Friday, October 13, 2006

Residential tower project in Sharjah cancelled

Unhappy investors are suing property developer Tameer Holdings over the failure to deliver the Al Ameera residential tower apartments in Sharjah, despite an offer of their money back plus 25 per cent.

The 284 buyers signed their contracts expecting to take over their new homes in August 2008 back in spring 2004. The Al Ameera residential tower was to be the largest of its kind in Sharjah mirroring its counterpart in Dubai, the Princess Tower.

Tameer recently awarded the Arabian Construction Company with the honour to help materialise the Princess Tower by 2009. The tower, based in Dubai Marina, also announced in 2004, is expected to stand over 380 metres high, which would make it the world’s tallest residential tower.

In August 2005 the buyers received a letter stating that the Al Ameera tower project had been delayed due to the lack of a licence because of a delay in the implementation of a new law in real estate ownership. “As far as I know the law in Sharjah hasn’t changed since the seventies. How can you start selling or building something when you can’t be sure when and if a new law comes into place?” questions the same investor. Sharjah’s property ownership law stipulates that non-GCC nationals can own a 99-year leasehold but not freehold and therefore foreigners were legally not entitled to buy into Al Ameera, while the local investors could. Tameer reassured investors that the completion date would not be affected by the delay and stopped cashing in any more cheques.

This summer, Tameer made it clear that the law did not allow expatriate ownership and advised that it would cancel all contracts with non-GCC nationals. What happened with local prospective owners is not clear.

Tameer told investors that it regretted having to cancel final construction as it, despite its best efforts, had been unsuccessful in obtaining a licence due to reasons beyond their control. But the company was ready to return the deposit and around six monthly instalments plus a negotiated 25 per cent on top.

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