Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gardens residents heave a sigh of relief

The Gardens residents who were left “in limbo” regarding the issue of the demolition of their houses for road construction, are now relieved following the notice issued for renewal of their leases for rest of the year. The residents have expressed their happiness over the news, as everything was under a standstill until now.

During early January, the residents of certain buildings of The Gardens’ were issued notices by the management stating the management’s ability to renew their leases only until June this year. The Owner of the apartment complex, Nakheel, explained that the RTA planned to build a parallel road scheme through The Gardens which needed demolition of these buildings.

Though the RTA denied the demolition of the buildings, it mentioned the project was still in the negotiation stage. On the other hand, Nakheel was maintaining silence over the issue, leaving the residents under confusion.

Nearly two hundred members out of three hundred odd affected families had gathered on Friday at a cricket ground near their residence to exhibit solidarity. The affected buildings consist of three bedroom apartments that were leased out by the residents for only about one-third the actual market value of other similar homes in Dubai, and finding a similar accommodation was impossible for them.

Quite a few of them even considered the idea of going back to their home countries, while others had nearly settled for single bedroom apartments in Dubai as that was all they could afford.

The announcement came at the right time, and the residents are now heaving a sigh of relief.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

MESC appointed as the Principal Contractor for Marina Tower project

Dubai’s MESC (Modern Executive Systems Contracting) have been appointed as the Principal contractor by Abyaar, a Kuwaiti luxury developer, for its Dubai Marina Towers Pier 24 and Pier 8.

Abyaar entered the property market of UAE last year with an investment plan of $1.4billion. The construction work of the twenty storey first tower, Pier 24, which already has fifteen floors, is due for completion this summer.

The Managing Director of Abyaar, Marzooq Al Rashdan, expressed his confidence that the project will meet the required standards and timelines mentioned, and added that the project is done using the best international brands of interior design in Europe, and as true quality speaks for itself, people can experience the quality of the work, after the completion of the show apartment in March.

The project has been developed by Abyaar in partnership with KEO International Consultants, a design and management services company whose works involve projects like The Pearl-Qatar. The interior designing of both properties will be done by Matteo Nunziati of Milan.

The Consultant design for the forty storey Pier Eight, which is due for completion by end of 2008, is awarded to WS Atkins. WS Atkins were also the consultants for Jumeirah Beach hotel and Burj Al Arab projects.

Aspire launches affordable flats in Dubai

A Middle-income development of Dh.530 million has been developed in Jumeirah Village South in Dubai by Aspire, a property developer.

The five storey project, with twelve buildings will consist of a total of 1180 units with forty percent comprising studio and single bedroom apartments and sixty percent two bedroom units.

The minimum price for studios is Dh.275,000, while the single and double bedroom apartments will be sold at Dh.550,000 and 750,000 respectively.

Every apartment will have a minimum of one parking space and the apartments which are more than 585.2 Sq. mts in area will have two. The ground floors include retail units, health club, swimming pools, and children’s zone. Every room will have an access to wireless internet, and Tabreed district cooling systems will be provided in apartments for reducing the running costs of end-users by fifty percent.

The Managing Director of Aspire, Harshit Kantaria, during the occasion, mentioned that while ninety five percent of developers in Dubai are targeting sophisticated consumers, eighty five percent of residents in Dubai still live in rented apartments, as they are unable to afford a luxury house. He added that Aspire intends to come up with a good mix of apartments comprising all facilities, at a price which common men can afford.

He said that a couple, whose monthly income is Dh.10,000 each, can very well afford a Jehaan apartment and that Aspire is actually targeting the end-users, rather than investors. In addition, real estate agents selling Jehaan units will be given a four percent commission by Aspire.

The project is scheduled for completion by March, 2009.

Major property players to launch Real Estate Institute

The major property giants in Dubai have come together in establishing a real estate Institute. The officials from property companies of Dubai Holdings – Sama Dubai, Tatweer, and Dubai Properties are likely to be among the Board of Directors, while Emaar India, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emaar and Dubai World have entered as shareholders.

With a tremendous growth in the property market in the emirate and in the Gulf regions, the industry is experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals. The Dubai Land Department recently issued broker certificates to eliminate unprofessional units in the industry.

The new Institute looks forward to establish partnerships with other major groups and is also in the process of finalizing plans with Universities for offering specific courses related to the industry.

The courses will address the real estate markets in Asia, Mena, Turkey and Europe and comprises study of property development, real estate processes, principles of evaluation and finance in the real estate market.

DWC awards construction deals of Dh.1.5b to Kuwait Conglomerate

Two construction deals for the $33-billion logistics and aviation project in Jebel Ali, has been awarded to a Kuwait group, MA Kharafi & Sons, by DWC (Dubai World Central).

The Kuwait-based group, MA Kharafi &Sons, have been handed over the task of constructing the Dh1.5b Headquarters and office park of the DLC (Dubai Logistics City) which is scheduled for completion by March 2009.

The second construction contract was awarded to National Company, which is also
a part of Kharafi group which involves construction of two utility complexes so
that the district cooling requirements for facilities of DWC’s first phase could
be met.
DLC has sixteen air cargo terminals with a capacity to handle air cargo of about twelve million tones, and covers an area of 25 Sq kms. The total area covered by DWC is 140 Sq kms, developed by DCA (Department of Civil Aviation in Dubai). With a capacity to handle about 120 million passengers, the DWC is likely to be the world’s largest Airport.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed al Maktoum, the Chairman of DWC, who is also the President of DCA and the Chief Executive of Emirates Group, mentioned that the great aviation city which is centered on the DWC International Airport will actually place Dubai in top-most positions for tourism, commerce and regional logistics.

A couple of other projects are also under negotiations which include construction of a passenger terminal building contract, which is likely to handle a few million passengers every year and scheduled for completion by the year end.

Another six runways are being planned. The work is likely to reach its peak during end of 2009 and initial part of 2010 involving about 20,000 on-site workers.

DWC expects a population of 900,000 on completion.

L&T inaugurates new concrete plant worth Dh.48 million

The Larsen and Tourbo (L&T) company of India inaugurated a Concrete plant worth Dh.48 million with 240 cubic meters capacity per hour in Jebel Ali. This plant is said to meet the need for ready-mix concrete which has a growing demand currently in the UAE.

Currently L&T supplies and manufactures three million cubic meters of concrete every year by way of sixty factories spread throughout the country. These operations are carried out by an army of five hundred transit mixers, hundred stationary pumps, and six mobile concrete pumps with a twenty eight percent market share.

As a part of its expansion plans, L&T plans a total number of 150 plants in India towards end of 2010. The company also has expansion plans in the Middle East, and is in particular concentrating on Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Muscat and Sohar.

The Senior Executive Vice President and Board of Member of L&T, K.V.Rangaswami, expressed his confidence that L&T will leave a mark as a major force in this particular segment, and will expand further to other parts of the UAE and GCC by focusing on Gulf construction market in particular. He added that the company can leverage the advantages offered by L&T concrete, either by supplying it to various other contractors or for its own projects.

Dubai Sports City awards contracts to Eastern and Transemirates

The major construction contracts for the Academies area of the DSC (Dubai Sports City), which comprises of facilities for ICC Global Cricket and United Soccer Schools has been awarded to Eastern International and Transemirates.

Positioned in the South-east corner of the DSC, the area is also likely to include a World Hockey Academy, Field Hockey Stadium, a 2500 Sq. mt gymnasium, a rugby training facility, Bradenton Preparatory Academy, and an Olympic length swimming pool, in addition to two hostel accommodations with a capacity to accommodate 524 people.

Eastern International is the Principal Contractor for Bradenton Preparatory Academy, which is a school with sports certification, which imparts training as per American Baccalaureate Curriculum. The major Academies Area contracting has been awarded to Transemirates.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Damac Properties witness rise in sales during DSF

As a part of its promotional activities during the DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival), more than 545 units have been sold by Damac Properties.

An Eclipse 500 Jet worth more than Dh.5.5 million is announced by the company for one lucky customer among the initial seven hundred customers, who purchase properties during DSF. In addition, a Jaguar will also be given to every new customer who purchases Damac Property during this DSF.

During this DSF a 105 percent rise in sales was witnessed by the company during 2006, as against fifty percent in 2004 and eighty five percent in 2005.

DIC Project to be completed by April

Conmix, a construction material provider in service for more than thirty years, is now the first investor to begin construction at the industrial free zone, as stated by Dubai Industrial City.

The two factories, construction chemicals and pre-mix plaster, covering an area f 200,000 Sq. ft., are in the process of development at an investment of Dh.42 million. The two factories together will contribute an annual production of 200,000 tonnes and are scheduled for completion by April this year.

Ajman be the next attraction for tourists and investors

The Ajman Government is all set to make the place more tourist and investor friendly, and is making initiatives towards attracting investors through a series of projects, The Chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, has revealed that Ajman is investing in hospitality, infrastructure, and other environmental projects to woo tourists and investors alike. He also mentioned that Ajman is in the process of entering into an agreement with a company for developing a master plan for the emirate.

Real Estate and Housing is said to be the top-most priority among Ajman’s developmental agenda. In addition to the real estate projects that are under construction on Emirates Road, Emirates City and Al Amira Village, three others are in pipeline. The total investment for the entire five projects is about Dh.20 to 25 billion.

Ajman’s next priority is the sanitation project, which is likely to get operational by the end of the year and will connect most emirates. Towards mid-2008, this sanitation plant is likely to connect the entire emirate to the project.

Next in-line is the finalization of the road network, which is due within a couple of months. Sheikh Rashid stated that a budget of Dh.150 to 160 million has been allocated for 2007, though in all possibilities, it is likely to exceed the allocations to keep pace with developmental needs.

Ajman Government also has plans to set up a special department for developing hospitality and tourism industries in the emirate. Also the industries in Ajman are advised to comply with a set of environmental guidelines prepared by the Government and a committee is set up to identify specific pollutants and the means for disposal. Sheikh Rashid added that a strict measure will be enforced for closure of firms that ignore environmental limits.

Sixty one Storey tower to be built in memory of Sheikh Zayed

In memory of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, architect of the UAE, a sixty one storey tower is likely to come up in Dubai, shortly.

The Al Hekma Tower (Wisdom Tower) is planned by Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as an appreciation of the unequaled contributions made by Sheikh Zayed during his term, towards promotion and development of UAE and the greater Arab world. The name of the building was chosen by Sheikh Issa himself in recognition of the good judgment and intelligence of the late President, Sheikh Zayed.

The project is located close to Defence Interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road and will exhibit an image of Sheikh Zayed, which is fifty meters in length, on top of the tower. As per report from Pearl Properties, owned by Sheikh Issa, the portrait, on completion, will be the largest among the single individual portraits in the Middle East.

The value of the project is yet to be disclosed. The Tower is scheduled for completion in 2008.

Sharjah Municipality puts an end to the land row

The Sharjah Municipality demolished the structures at a disputed compound located at Al Zaha in Sharjah. More than 1200 workers are said to have been staying in these buildings. This also puts an end to a long dispute between Sharjah Municipality and the owner of the compound, after the municipality officials leveled the buildings yesterday.

According to the officials of Sharjah Municipality, the buildings were constructed in an area which was actually allocated for agricultural purposes wherein constructions of structures were prohibited. However, provisional buildings were erected within the compound, providing cheap accommodation to the workers of various companies, as the rents for labour camps in Sonapur were pretty high. The electricity to the buildings were disconnected a couple of months ago, following which the municipality had warned the tenants to move out of the compound.

The Owner of the building had obtained a stay-order from the court against demolishing the building and hence the demolition was held back for a couple of days. The compound owner and the tenants of the building are however, claiming that the lease agreement they posses, has the approval of municipality for tenancy in the buildings. In fact, the owner claims that even the building plan has been approved by the Town Planning Department and the Municipality.

Dubai’s Skyline likely to emerge as a strong competitor

The renowned Architect, Hazel Wong, has proclaimed that Dubai’s Skyline will be a competitor in days to come with most other architecturally well-known cities.

Wong, the Regional Director of RMJM, an architectural firm in Dubai, who also helped in designing of the Emirates Towers in Dubai, said that the architectural spotlight will be shifting to Dubai, which also has designs such as the Dancing Towers and Burj Dubai.

While speaking during the landmark ceremony of the West Wharf Residential Tower in the “New Manhattan” Business Bay in Dubai, Wong is reported to have mentioned that Dubai has stood apart in being the main focus of global architecture and is continuing to attract plenty of international tourists. The velocity of developments, wherein the planning and building of the projects takes place at a very rapid pace, is very satisfying for the architects.

UAE has been attracting some of the renowned architects, like for instance Zaha Hadid, the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 for the design of Dancing Towers at Business Bay, which was revealed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

He added that unlike North America, Canada or in Europe, where there are lot of historical precedents and considerations that are laid down for approval of a project, especially when designing something outside the norm, in Dubai architects have more freedom to go beyond the norm. A few such projects that were recently launched in the UAE have gone much ahead of the norm, like the fully rotating tower, a structure that takes the shape of UAE flag, and the three palm-shaped islands, which have raised many eyebrows. Another such innovative project is the human shaped Burj Al Arabi, which hit controversy due to the non-approval of the design from Limitless, the owners of the Jumeirah Village Master Plan, where the building was likely to come up.

However, Wong refused to comment about the architectural significance of these designs, and stated that there is always room for a more sophisticated and creative design in Dubai’s skyline.

First phase of Saqr Port expansion inaugurated by KGL

A new container terminal was opened at Saqr Port in Ras Al Khaimah by the Kuwait based KGL Ports International. KGL Ports had earlier secured a twenty one year allowance to develop, operate and own the terminal, the official inauguration of which is scheduled during March. The current phase of the project is worth $70 million, which is a part of $250 million investment plan for the expansion of the port. The capacity of the port is likely to be increased to three million from the current 350,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) within a span of five years.

The Chairman and CEO of KGL International Ports, Mohammad Al Mazeedi, has stated that this milestone indicates the major role played by the company in the area of ports management and the ability to fulfill their business objectives in compliance with its long term plans.
Mazeedi has mentioned that after the official inauguration of the port, 150,000 containers will be shipped at the Saqr Port from local companies. He added that they have already begun negotiations with major cargo companies, who have already given their consent in using the new facilities of the port to monitor the performance of the port for a test time.

He added that in the current phase, the four basins and platforms of the port already have the capacity to handle 350,00 containers and a fresh basin with 16 mts. draft would be required in the months to come.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Abu Dhabi Tourist Club to be refurbished

The task of re-developing the Abu Dhabi Tourist Club into a top-class commercial and residential hub has been undertaken by Khor Abu Dhabi Property Development, an investor association, under the leadership of Al Masoud Group in Abu Dhabi.

The Quay, which covers 1.5 million Sq.Ft., has been master-planned by the Cox Group of Australia. The Cox Group are famous designers, who have undertaken major seafront projects in Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, China and Australia.

The association has entered into a partnership with TDIC (Tourism Development and Investment Company), a branch of ADTA (Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority) for The Quay Site, after a competitive bid of five projects.

The Chairman of ADTA and TDIC, Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, mentioned in a statement that the unique urban experience, offered by the Quay, will greatly increase the already expanding international tourism proposition of Abu Dhabi. The Quay, will be a unique destination providing large open waterfront spaces meant for public use and will be a valuable addition to the heritage of Tourist Club.

Being a mixed-use development with residential, commercial and leisure facets, The Quay is located only a few minutes from the business center in Abu Dhabi, and features Five Star Restaurant with 620 rooms. It is also one among the biggest single urban re-development schemes in the UAE and will influence the Arabian Gulf setting to produce a destination of wide regional, local and international appeal. The destination is also said to house the first aquarium of Abu Dhabi, four hundred luxury apartments, and an office space of about 592,000 Sq.Ft. housed in two towers with twenty storeys each.

The Chairman of the Al Masaood Group, Abdullah Al Masaood, mentioned that the Quay has drawn inspiration from few of the world’s best ocean settings and resembles the likes of Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Capetown and Darling Harbour in Sydney.

ETA Star hands-out three UAE projects worth Dh.1 billion

ETA Star, the Dubai-based property developer has handed over construction contracts for three projects in the UAE, which is worth more than Dh.1 billion.

The company has entered into a deal with Dubai-based contractors Civil Company for construction of a four block apartment complex, Centrium, at the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) located in Emirates Road.

In the meanwhile, the tender for Al Manara Project (a commercial tower designed by Singapore firm) which is located at the Business Bay master development was handed over to Ascon by ETA Star.

The last contract was picked up by Fast Contracting for the work on a
residential project Star Heights, located in Al Nahda, Sharjah, the
construction of which, is likely to last for more than twenty five months.
The officials of ETA Star said that the company is laying emphasis on the construction of the main structures. The Al Manara project is scheduled to be completed by 10th January 2009, while the Centrium is due for completed by 15th May 2009.

The Executive Director of the ETA Star company, Abid Junaid, has assured the investors that the projects will be completed by the scheduled dates. Lot of Real Estate Developers have been in crisis due to lack of contractors and sub-contractors, limited labour pool and the fluctuating raw material prices, which in turn is leading to major delays in project deliveries.

High Mortgage demands in UAE results shortage of Housing Finance

According to recent reports by EFG-Hermes, an investment Bank, the growing population, combined with strong mortgage demand has temporarily resulted in shortage of Housing Finance.

The shortage is mainly believed to be due to the constraints faced by Tamweel and Amlak Finance, which accounts for 25 and 35 percent of the market respectively and the remaining forty percent is divided among number of other Banks providing housing finance. Both Tamweel and Amlak have already applied for a Banking License, which, if granted, will permit them to enhance their lending business.

The report states that the demand could have been even higher, if all the project deliveries had been completed on time, and in such a case, the housing finance market would have faced a tough time in keeping pace with the demand due to funding problems.

As per estimations from EFG-Hermes, the total outstanding housing loans were Dh.11.5 billion during end of September 2006. Due to factors such as a booming economy and real estate market, sudden increase in population in the UAE, an environment with low interest rates and due to the change of regulations in the property market, the market was immensely benefited.

Reports indicate that the house finance sector in the UAE will witness an increase by Dh.14bn in 2007, Dh.18bn during 2008 and 2009, Dh.14bn in 2010 and Dh.17bn in 2011. According to EFG, the large number of units waiting to be delivered will come into the market during 2007, 2008 and 2009 due to the delay in deliveries during the past years. EFG believes that due to this significant increase in the number of housing units, occupancy rates may fall, and hence the off-plan buyers could possibly sell their properties due to funding constraints, rather than bearing the risk of owning empty houses in a market that is relatively soft.

This could put pressure on the prices of the property, and hence beginning 2008, the softening is likely to take place. EFG also expects an increase in property development in Abu Dhabi rather than Dubai in the years after 2009.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Burj Dubai, the World’s tallest tower, now comprises of hundred floors

The World’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, attained hundred floors, thereby being the sixth to touch the milestone scaling of 347.3 meters. Burj Dubai, is also one among the thirty eight structures of the world with a height of more than three hundred meters. Burj Dubai, is now higher than the other three constructions in the region – the Emirates Towers Hotel (309 mts), Burj Al Arab (321 meters) and Saudi Arabia (302 meters)

The other structures in the world to cross hundred storeys are John Hancock Center, Chicago (100), Taipei 101 (101), Seas Tower in Chicago (110 floors), Empire State Building in New York (102) and Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea (105).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Villas at “The Palisades” completely sold out by Landmark

Dubai-based Landmark Properties has been successful in selling the entire 44 Phase One Villas located at The Palisades, which is one of the mixed-use real estate developments in Dubai.

Another 200 individual apartments have been released by Landmark Properties at The Palisades due to high commercial investor interest. The Palisades consist of both duplex and standard apartments within an area of 900 to 1900 Sq.ft.

The General Manager of Landmark Properties, Craig Johnson has remarked that the familiarity of Landmark properties with the real estate market in Dubai, in conjunction with unique features that The Palisades have to offer, has resulted in a significant market response to the first phase of the project. He added that due to the experience of huge success in phase one of the project, Landmark has released the individual apartments for sale this month, and is expecting a great positive response to the release.

Landmark Properties, being the sole agents, are entirely responsible for the sale of apartments, town houses and villas in the Dh.10billion project, which will ultimately serve as home for more than 55,000 on completion during 2008.

Airport tunnel to be shut down for completion of maintenance work

According to the announcement by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai Airport tunnel will be shutdown for maintenance work from January 13th to January 17th. The maintenance is scheduled to be completed in two stages from Al Rashidiyah to Al Qusais and Vice Versa. The Chief Executive Officer of the Road and Traffic Agency, Maitha Bin Odai said that the shut down is essential for a complete maintenance.

However, she added that for the convenience of the tunnel users, the work will be carried out between 1 to 5am. She also asked the users to take alternative roads recommended by the RTA to alleviate traffic congestions and has advised caution while using the tunnel.

Good news for Gardens Residents

The Residents of “The Gardens’” are relieved and expressed their happiness regarding the statement from Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) that its projects do not require demolition of any buildings.

The Garden’s management had earlier issued notices to tenants of twelve buildings that their apartments would be affected by the proposed road construction, and as a precautionary measure, the tenancy period of the affected buildings would be extended only till the month of June in the current year.

The RTA mentioned that its statement was in response to the comments that appeared in newspapers about the impact of their project, on the buildings in the Gardens’ township. The Statement clearly confirmed that none of RTA’s projects (rail or metro), will require demolishing of any of apartments of “The Gardens”.

However, a Spokesperson of the builder Nakheel, mentioned that a final decision regarding the route of the West Parallel Road, is yet to be taken and that Nakheel is looking for further talks with RTA regarding the finalization of the road location, as it could affect any of their developments.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cansult appointed as Project Consultants by Aakar

Cansult, has been appointed as Project Consultant by Aakar Developers for the Dh.200 million CBC Tower (Canada Business Center Tower) project.

The Dh.200 million CBC Tower project, was actually designed in Cansult’s Dubai Offices and is in the process of tendering. The project is due for completion by 2008.

The CEO of Aakar Developer, Yadvinder Singh, and the CEO of Cansult, James Metcalfe entered into an agreement which includes the formation of a project design team under the leadership of Hassan Al Zagha and Marti Bell of Cansult.

The CBC Tower, which is located at Dubai Business Bay, has nineteen floors in 7500 Sq. Feet of retail space at ground level.

Al Barari Contract awarded to Al Naboodah

The infrastructure works for the first phase of the Dh.6.6 billion “Al Barari” project has been awarded to Al Naboodah Engineering Services, by Al Barari Development Company.

About three hundred lavish villas are likely to be constructed at the royal enclave of Nad Al Sheba with a net land area of 9.2 million sq. feet. Al Naboodah has been contracted to provide the roads, irrigation, high voltage electrical network, sewerage and drainage network, lakes and waterways for the project in addition to other such contracts.

According to the Chairman of the Al Barari Development Company, the Villas offering a luxurious living will have only eighteen percent of the development built up. The balance 82 percent is earmarked for lakes, waterways, botanical gardens and walkways, with each villa being only a few steps away from a botanical garden. The development takes the form of a tree, with 30 clusters (leaves) in the initial phase, comprising of nine to twelve villas per leaf. Each villa will have five to seven bedrooms with views of adjoining wildlife reserve, botanical gardens and waterways.

Burj Al Arabi Project yet to be approved

The design of the human-shaped tower “Burj Al Arabi” which is 140 mts. in length, comprising 35 storey is in trouble, as the project is still unapproved according to the master developer Limitless, the global incorporated real estate development branch of Dubai world. The developer, AAA Group in Jumeirah Village, had earlier announced that the project was approved.

The master developer has mentioned in an e-mailed statement, that as per contract, the AAA group should compulsorily receive approval for the design from Limitless to ensure that it abides with the development code and the rules and regulations for the buildings meant for Jumeirah Village Master Plan. The statement added that the design announced is neither submitted to nor approved by Limitless.

The tower is part of the Jumeirah Village and is likely to be completed by 2009.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Damac to open new offices in Ireland and UK

Damac Holding has announced that twelve sales offices of the company will be opened shortly in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the current year.

About forty five percent of the customers of the company are based in UK, and Damac already has an office in Mayfair, London. The new offices that are being planned are located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol, Belfast, Leicester and Dublin.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bio-tech Plant to be set up in Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park

The New Medical Center (NMC) Group based in Abu Dhabi is likely to set up a multi-billion dollar bio-technology plant at Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, which is the region’s biotech hub that is currently under development.

The Vice-Chairman of the NMC Group, Dr. B.R.Shetty, mentioned that the
multi-billion dollar project is to be the first of its kind in the region. He
added that the group has sought for a land at DuBiotech and once that’s
obtained, the work will commence immediately.

Dubiotech is a business and science park which is dedicated to the biotech industry and is set in a free zone infrastructure. The master plan of DuBiotech are currently being done by the US-based Project managers Parsons and CUH2A which is the world’s largest professional services firm that is dedicated to planning and designing of technology and science facilities.

Also Neopharma, the Pharmaceutical Plant of Dr.Shetty recently entered into a joint venture with India’s leading biotechnology major, Biocon for producing biomedicine in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Shetty mentioned that this is significant for the pharmaceutical industry of UAE, as this will help UAE in producing bio-medicine for the first time.

Omniyat Properties set to invest Dh.10bn

Omniyat Properties, a unit of Al Masa Holdings, has announced that it plans to invest Dh.10billion in the real estate sector during 2007.

The President and CEO, Mehdi Amjad mentioned that the investment of Dh.2.7bn which was announced during initial part of 2006 are included in the Dh.10bn figure. He added that the company will shortly set up a public joint stock company for international investments with three new units to be inaugurated for work in Islamic financing, tourism and hotels.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Damac’s investments to increase four fold in next three years

The biggest private freehold developer in UAE, Damac Properties has announced that its total investments in the property sector in the UAE and overseas would increase fourfold i.e., it is likely to reach $25.5 billion during the next three years.

The Chairman and Founder of Damac Holding Group mentioned that in the coming three years, the company will further expand its real estate business in Egypt and Saudi Arabia through projects worth $20billion.
Damac, which is one of the most booming commercial, leisure and residential
developers in Dubai and Middle East over the last four years has invested in a
total of 52 projects worth$5.5billion, including several projects completed or
are under development in the Far East, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan and UAE. A hundred percent growth was recorded in sales by Damac during 2006 and is expecting to increase its overseas sales during 2007 while simultaneously consolidating growth in Dubai with a surge of thirty percent sales.
Sajwani mentioned that Damac has 37 projects in Dubai and would further like to consolidate when the market is still strong. In Dubai alone, Damac’s investment is $4 billion. The latest project was in Dubailand called The Cyclades which consist of seven office buildings out of which two are being launched now. Another prestigious project of Damac in Dubai includes Oceanscape and Ocean Heights. It has already brought in three projects in downtown Amman. The projects namely “The Heights” which is a 35 storey tower and “The Lofts” which is an eight storey residential development which is adjacent to the tower were sold out completely in time. Another project called “The Courtyard” was inaugurated in November this year.

Damac has also launched a project in Abu Dhabi. Damac is confident about witnessing a spectacular growth in Egypt and Saudi Arabia as there is a huge growth potential in these places. Sajwani mentioned that he is also planning to enter into Morocco and other regional markets in future.

New Projects of Dubai Municipality

Dubai Municipality will shortly begin work on a massive housing project that involves building 353 housing amenities for UAE nationals in different parts of the Emirate.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be Dh.216.6 million

The Municipality is also said to develop the Rashidiya area, with a total cost of Dh.500m apart from the construction of residential towers in Bur Dubai and Deira at a net cost of Dh.335m.

Tenancy contracts should be checked for additional new clauses

The Chairman of the Dubai Rent Committee, Saeed Al Ghundi has requested the tenants to read the contract thoroughly before signing them to ensure that no additional clauses are introduced, as in case of any disputes, the rent committee will have to take a decision based on the tenancy contract.

For instance, in case the tenancy contract states that the tenant will have to vacate the house after a certain period, the tenant will be left with no other option except to vacate the house. However, Al Ghundi mentioned that tenants should refuse to sign a contract that carries such a clause.

Al Ghundi clarified that other than the seven percent hike, the landlords are not permitted to introduce any new changes, and in case there is a new clause, the tenant is permitted to refuse such a deal. In case of any disputes, the parties can approach the rent committee, but the person who lodges the complaint should pay 3.5 percent of the annual rent, as fee to the rent committee, and the losing party will have to bear the expense.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Land transactions in Dubai witnessed increase

The Dubai Land Department’s land transactions witnessed an increase from Dh.15.334 billion to Dh.65.169billion, as per the figures revealed by the department. A big portion of the transactions were taken up by mortgages, thereby ending the year at Dh.40.58bn.

The cumulative transactions during 2006 increased by 462.5 percent, which is much higher than the level of 2004 which recorded Dh.11.587bn. A report on the real estate sector by EFG-Hermes, an investment bank, says that though the real estate market in Dubai has become more fragmented with a large number of developers having divested most of their land banks to private developers, more than fifty percent of the land bank of Dubai is still in the hands of major players like Nakheel and Dubai Properties.

The year 2006 witnessed cash sales of 2613, donations of property and land being 369 and 1960 mortgage transactions. According to the land department reports, the cash sales were spread across 102 districts in Dubai. The open spaces sales underwent 2,206 transactions that involved 3.31 million sq m with a total of Dh.45.68bn., while the sale of developed land comprised of 2.15 sq m. Emirates Hills Second is reported as the top selling district, which comprised of 7.18 percent of the total sales of land with an average price of approximately Dh.1,016.87 per sq.ft. Emirates Hill Second was also the top most in the list of areas that witnessed the largest number of deals with as many as 403 sales being registered. This was followed by Marsa Dubai, with 5.32 percent.

Emaar Properties expects 35 percent increase in annual profits

Analysts are of the opinion that Emaar Properties is likely to witness a thirty five percent increase in its annual profits during the coming year. The Analysts of Shuaa Capital have mentioned that Emaar will witness a net profit of Dh.1.73billion during the fourth quarter of 2006, which is actually a 66 percent increased over the same period during 2005. The total profit of the initial nine months during 2006 was Dh.6.54bn, due to which the average profit of the entire year is estimated at 6.38bn. Investors are under fear that after the unstable growth witnessed during 2005, the Emaar shares will be knocked down in the stock markets once more in case it announces a measly earnings growth in the coming year.

Due to the high pace in the past, the expectations placed on Emaar are always higher in comparison to other companies. According to EFG Hermes, an investment bank, this means that though the company does well on an international scale and even if its profit is very high, anything unstable that it does, will fall below expectations. Hermes comments that the Burj Dubai construction by Emaar has reached the benchmark of twenty percent and hence Emaar can begin to recognize its associated revenues. On recognition, a net profit by approximately Dh.0.6bn is estimated in addition to the distinct improvement in the operating margins.

EFG states that the smaller margin of net profit by Emaar during the third quarter of 2006 was expected due to the higher revenue made from property sales at the cost of raw land sales, which is a healthy trend that allows the company to get more value-add from developments.

Real Estate Market likely to soften

According to experts, due to the new decree on rents in place, Dubai can now look forward to softening of the real estate market and lower inflation. This new decree imposed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashi Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will not only freeze rents on certain properties, but will also allow only seven percent increase on others.

The Chief Economist for Dubai International Financial Exchange, Nassar Saidi, mentioned that one of the points to be noted is that the Government is taking policy action, directed from a high level, which actually is an indication to the real estate market and is a welcome sign for tenants. However, the question as to how the Government will enforce the new decree is yet to be answered, he added.

Saidi mentioned that due to the rent caps, and the huge number of upcoming apartments, rental prices may begin to relax. Dubai is likely to witness a softening of the market, which is likely to be more stable, he added. He also mentioned that the decree will help in moderating inflation and estimates that the inflation during 2007 could witness a six to seven percent decrease.

Khalid Maniar, The Founder and Managing Partner of AGN MAK International, a consulting and auditing firm mentioned that the law could probably cause a problem when it comes to involving new tenants. In case the Landlords are unable to increase the rents of occupied tenants, they might compensate for the loss, by quoting high rent rates on new tenants. Hence, he is of the opinion that a rent cap for the entire building also should be enforced.

A decree with seven percent rent cap for Dubai

With the arrival of 2007, the residents of Dubai got what they wished for. An Annual Rent Cap of Seven Percent has been announced for the current year for the residents of Dubai. The decree was issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice-President of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.

The decision was good news for the residents, who had feared that the fifteen percent increase in rents would be extended, due to the misleading opinions of certain real estate agents. According to reports, the seven percent rent cap was decided upon by taking into account Decree No2 (1993) and its amendments, due to which a special committee was set up to settle any disputes between the tenants and the landlords and Decree No.14 (2005) which placed a ceiling for any sort of rent increase in Dubai.

As per the new decree, the hikes in rents should not be more than seven percent of the annual rent of the property. This is applicable to all the rent contracts that are to be renewed during the current year, in case there were no rent increments made during 2006 on that particular property. However, the rent contracts that were already subject to rent increase during 2006 will remain unaltered. The Special Judiciary Committee has been assigned the task of settling any disputes that may arise with appropriate measures so that the new decree could be implemented from 1st January 2007.

The residents welcomed the decision and wished for more measures that could stop the exploitation of the market by unscrupulous landlords and real estate agents.