Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nakheel Retails centralise retail property

Dubai World has created Nakheel Retail to centralise its retail property division under one brand. The new entity will incorporate the existing Istithmar Retail and will seek to maximise opportunities within its residential developments.

These will include the opening of neighbourhood convenience malls and further large scale regional shopping centres to support The Palm Jebel Ali, Dubai Waterfront and Palm Deira.

“Dubai World is committed to the development and delivery of world-class shopping facilities to meet the varying needs of our residential customers and the growing tourist market in Dubai,” said Nakheel Chief Executive Chris O’Donnell.

“As such, the group feels that its retail property business will be fully realised under the Nakheel name.” Nakheel Retail will comple ment another Dubai World company, Retail Corp, which is charged with bringing world-class brands to Dubai, both within Nakheel developments and third party venues.

“Nakheel Retail is about developing and managing property in an effective way,” said Nakheel Retail Chief Executive David Thurling.

“If Retail Corp brings musthave brands to Dubai then we will want them in our malls, but a successful brand cannot be limited to one landlord.” Retail Corp will compete in an open market for space in Nakheel developments.

Thurling said: “Ibn Battuta Mall is already one of the leading retail facilities in the region and it will benefit from population growth being driven by Nakheel’s residential property developments within the mall’s trade area.”

[Source : Emirates Today]

Hinduja invest in Dubai Water Front


One of India’s leading businesses groups, the Hinduja Group, plans to invest more than Dh1.01 billion in Dubai Waterfront, Nakheel’s mixedused waterfront development in Dubai, according to a statement issued by the Hinduja Group yesterday.

“The Hinduja Group has bought a two-million square feet prime plot at Madinat Al Arab [the focal point and downtown area of Dubai Waterfront] to develop resorts and residential towers, ranging between 10 and 50 stories,” Khaled Issa Al Huraimel, Dubai Waterfront’s General Manager for Madinat Al Arab, told Emirates Today.

“The investment by the Hinduja Group forms a part of the first phase of Madinat Al Arab, and most developments would be sea-facing.” Meanwhile, the first phase of the Madinat Al Arab, which according to Huraimel, was “completely sold out in 2005 for Dh13bn”, would constitute resorts, residential and commercial properties.

Nakheel will start handing over the land at Madinat Al Arab to developers this year, according to Huraimel. When asked about the due date for completion of the project, he did not specify any time, but said that investors have up to six years to complete the construction.

While Hinduja Group is the first Indian company to announce investments in Dubai Waterfront, according to Huraimel, several Indian companies have bought land in Dubai Waterfront.

While he did not disclose names, he said the waterfront development has “generated immense interest from a lot of Indian companies, besides other GCC states”.

The biggest investor in Dubai Waterfront so far, however, is the Dubai based Al Burj Real Estate, which, according to Huraimel, bought 60 per cent of the first phase.

[Source : Emirates Today]

Jumeira Beach Residence investors get upgrades for their home

Investors frustrated by delays in the handover of Jumeirah Beach Residence are being “substantially compensated” by upgrades to the finished product, the Chief Executive of Dubai Properties said.

Mohamed Binbrek said although buyers are not being financially reimbursed for losses caused by the hold-ups, they are receiving residential units which are “far superior” to what they originally paid for.

Asked about delays to the 7.9 million square metres project, Binbrek said: “We sympathise with the predicament of our investors, but it’s not a situation where the master developer could have avoided the delays or has in any way gained from them.

“We have done significant upgrades on the project, so in that sense people have already been substantially compensated.” The upgrades include better quality door handles, mosaics and marble finishes in bathrooms and improvements to the shopping boulevard, which will be home to 400 retailers.

Binbrek blamed the sixmonth delay on logistical problems, which were beyond the control of Dubai Properties. And he dismissed criticism buyers had been kept in the dark about progress on the mammoth project.

“There were times when we could have told them things that would have not been based on proper facts – that would have been nothing more than speculation, and it would not have been fair to raise their expectations.

“During the course of the project a lot of things changed in the market that were beyond our control – prices of materials, labour availability – they all affected the handover dates.

“As much as you plan, you always get mitigating factors coming into play. So, all of a sudden, steel was not available in the market, so we had people going around overseas trying to find supplies.

“You can do a theoretical analysis, but sometimes you are exposed to risks.” Binbrek revealed there has been a much higher demand for smaller residential units in Jumeirah Beach Residence than for larger three and four bedroom apartments.

Branded as the largest single-phase residential development in the world, the five million square foot cluster of 36 residential towers, four hotels and four beach clubs was orig inally scheduled for handover in September 2006.

It is anticipated that Jumeirah Beach Residence will be home to 30,000 people.

[Source : Emirates Today ]

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dubailand Headquarters open to public

The Headquarters and Sales Center of Dubailand was inaugurated this week. The Sales Center covers 180,000 Sq. Ft. of area, and dwells two Bengali Tigers in a locked enclosure. The headquarters, situated in Dubailand, around the Emirates Road, which is considered as mini Dubailand, will feature 3200 Sq.Ft. of scale model on the whole development.

The CEO of Dubailand, Mohammad Al Habbal, has said that the headquarters will establish a new benchmark for all sales offices in and around the region, while also providing visitors and investors a glance of the project’s offerings. The exhibition area will have a range of audio and video interactive features, a motorbike that is 35 mts high, a 220m rollercoaster, positioned right on top of the sales center.

The Sales Center of Dubailand, will also have other attractions such as the Dinosaur theme park, the Restless Planet etc., developed in co-operation with the National History Museum located at UK and the Mall of Arabia, known as the Culture and Science World, which is all set to become the largest shopping centers in the world.

Schedule of Dubailand revealed

The 24 mega projects that constitute the first phase of Dubai’s ambitious leisure and entertainment center, Dubailand, are due for completion in 2010. The Head of Dubailand, Mohammad Al Habbai, who is a member of Tatweer, declared that three projects are already in the process, and the fourth will be added in May this year.

Dubailand, which is built alongside Emirates Road, covering three billion square feet of land, will constitute entertainment centers, hotels etc. The entire project is divided into four phases, and each phase will take five years for completion and the entire city is expected to be complete by 2020.

Al Habbai mentioned that this is one among the biggest projects in Dubai, which will be of interest to one and all. In addition to the three current projects, and the fourth one which is scheduled for May this year, another four projects are already in their first and second stages, while sixteen others have their masterplans approved. As of now, Global Village, Dubai Autodrome and Plantation Polo Club are complete.

Dubai Outlet City is likely to be inaugurated during May, which will have more than 200 stores that offer goods at discounted rates. City of Arabia, Motor City, Falcon City, Sports City and Al Barari are already in pipeline.

Al Habbai mentioned that it was the dream of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai that made way to this world of entertainment. The projects will be divided into phases, though any additional priority will not be given to entertainment or residential facilities. However, Al Habbai believes that the theme park will be the centerpiece of the grand masterplan, which will have superb magical rides and Roller-coasters.

The Great Dubai Wheel, which is likely to be the second largest observation wheel, is another attraction.

A 10km stretch of themed resorts and hotels, Al Bawadi, which when completed will also include the world’s largest hotel proposed to be named as Asia Asia Hotel, will feature about gigantic 6500 rooms.

Manazel invests on three key projects in the UAE

The Abu Dhabi Real Estate Developer, Manazel Real Estate, has invested $2.5b in three key projects in the UAE. The Chairman of Manazel, Mohammad Al Qubaisi, mentioned that the company is on the look out for fresh investment prospects in the region and that they are planning to invest about Dh25billion or more in regional and local development projects in the next few years. Al Qubaisi also added that apart from looking out for developments in the Gulf area alone, they are also on the look out for developments in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.

Manazel, which came into force just about ten months ago, has already developed the Building Materials City at Abu Dhabi, that comprises of 49 towers for residential and office purposes, the Dunes Village comprising 950 apartments and nineteen

TAV awarded the $120m Emirates Financial Tower

The Emirates Financial Towers awarded the construction of its tower worth $120 million at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) to TAV (Tepe Akfen VIE Investment Construction and Operation).

Emirates Financial Towers are basically twin structures comprising 26 Storeys with Grade A office space, residential units and shops.

The contract follows a number of earlier agreements of Emirates Financial Towers with companies such as Al Qurg Engineering for the supervision of construction works, Projacs International for project management, MAG Robotic Systems for development of the hi-tech parking facility which is likely to have fully automated parking space, the largest ever in the world.

The Chief Executive of Emirates Financial Towers, Hani Abu Auida, has mentioned that TAV has been awarded the contract due to their high achievement records that are in consistency with the goals of Emirates Financial Towers so that it reaches the highest professional standards while also adhering to the deadlines.

TAV has won this project by competing with five other companies. Though the prominent development of TAV is the airport construction, it has several other projects in UAE, Turkey and other countries. The completed projects of TAV are worth $1 billion, while its ongoing projects are worth about $1.3 billion.

Dubai likely to witness a corporate collapse

According to experts, the corporate firms in Dubai are likely to crumple over the coming three years in case they do not abide by the regulations of proper corporate governance and play games against the management procedures.

The Vice President of Internal Audit of the Emirates Group, Neeraj Kumar, while speaking during the eighth annual Gulf Regional Audit Conference, is believed to have mentioned that the rate at which the current transactions are taking place, Dubai is bound to see a failure in the forthcoming three years. He added that such a situation could happen anywhere, and Dubai certainly cannot be an exception.

Experts say that the Government has plans to set up a regulatory body in the next two years to monitor the risk management and corporate governance issues. This will improve background of the corporate governance in the emirate and the requirements for the same will be regulated.
The Chief of Audit Group at Dubai Holding, Abdulrahman Al Hareb, agreed that there are possibilities of a probable corporate failure in the Gulf region. These things are inevitable over a certain period, as corporate failures have been happening, and are likely to happen in future.

When it comes to regulatory environment, Dubai has the necessary infrastructure in place. But corporate failure depends on the manner in which the companies conduct their business. Corporate failures were a part of the business world, and companies go up and down. However, according to experts, Dubai’s economy being strong, will not collapse or hit the markets, or affect the image of the emirate.

According to David Cafferty, Total Solutions Director for Forensic and Compliance Service, though the companies are ready to develop a culture of international corporate governance, it will take time for such a culture to flow through the corporate structure down to the bottom, so that people could perform to the same levels of governance.

Cafferty added that this being more of a cultural issue, the companies will not be interested in publishing any matter that could create damage to their credibility on the world financial stage. However, he agrees with the fact that financial frauds are happening.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Property market on the web – Will this be the trend in future??

Though browsing for property on the internet still appears to be uncommon in most parts of the world, a new entrant, DubaiPropertyMatch.com, is of the opinion that it is high time that this status gets upgraded.

The Founder of DubaiPropertyMatch.com, Michael Hashemain has mentioned that as per a BBC survey on UK property market, it is estimated that atleast eight out of ten people will begin their property search on the internet shortly. Though the completion of such a transaction through the net is yet to be ascertained, it is a fact that people in search of a project are turning towards the internet.

Hushemian adds that incase such a trend continues in this regions in future, about fifteen odd middlemen, who are responsible for increasing the cost of the properties and also complicating the entire process could be done away with.

In addition to this, people have no time today, to go in person or talk for hours to agents and ultimately be let down. In such a situation there is an increased need for a strong web portal to take off the stress from people. According to Hashemain, the site DubaiPropertyMatch.com, will display not only Landlords and Sellers who have the option of listing their properties, but will also list buyers and tenants looking to buy or rent properties. In addition, the portal will also include warehouses, residential and industrial units, plots and offices.

Hashemain is of the opinion that such a portal will cut out middlemen and save costs on the property and make the industry more transparent. He adds that all listings in the site are verified for hundred percent accuracy, as people have genuine requirement for property at present.

The website is free of charge at the moment. Revenues are likely to be received through advertisings in future. The buyers accessing the website seem to be interested in investing on completed properties.

The portal also has a facility wherein the users can list the property requirements including the price that they looking for. The site automatically finds a suitable match from its database through a certain software that is driven by application.

Business Bay already sold out

According to the developer, Dubai Properties, all three phases of the freehold development, Business Bay, has already been sold out. On the whole more than 220 towers are likely to come up along the Dubai Creek extension, covering an area of 64 million Square Feet.

Business Bay, worth Dh.110 billion, was announced during the year 2004, and eighty percent of the development is said to have been sold out to investors and the rest twenty percent is planned to be developed by Dubai Properties themselves.

The Projects in Business Bay include Porsche Design Towers, The Executive Towers, Signature Towers, Vision Towers and more such projects. The reputation of the development, as a regional business hub has drawn attraction of various international, regional and local investors.

The CEO of Dubai Properties, Mohammad Bin Braik, stated that the Business Bay developers, being truly international, have a fast-track policy in execution of projects. The investment returns are quite rewarding for first-time investors, analyzing the resale returns that it would yield in the secondary market.

About thirty percent of the buyers are said to be from the international markets – US, Europe, Far East, and Australia, and another 30 percent are from GCC. About forty percent are corporate and local investors. A few major investors include Omniyat Properties, Damac Properties, Deyaar, Akaar Properties, Fortune Group, Credo Investments, Sungwon from South Korea, Bando Housing, and Tamiyat group based in Saudi Arabia.

Business Bay, which is located between Al Khail Road and Shaikh Zayed Road, is more or less is in the lines of Ginza of Tokyo or the Manhattan in New York, so as to provide the best commercial environment for outstanding companies, businesses and investors.

Construction of sub-sea tunnel in The Palm

The real estate major Nakheel, the company behind the developing Palm Jumeirah, has announced the construction of a sub-sea tunnel which links the center of the Palm and the Crescent. The tunnel which has six lanes is 1.4 kilometeres in length, 25 metres below sea level and is 40 metres in width. The tunnel comprises of two cells for traffic with three lanes running in each direction, and an emergency cell in between.

To enable the tunnel construction, a long coffer dam (a dam which helps in excluding water from an area which is otherwise submerged) which is three kilometers in length was constructed during October 2004. The dam was constructed by lashing sheet piles deep into seabed. On construction of the dam, about 4.3 million cubic meters of sea water was removed at a speed of 1000 cubic meters per hour from the cofferdam within 45 days.

When the dam was free of water, the tunnel construction went underway. The construction of tunnel required 200,000 cubic meters of durable concrete, 260,000 cubic meters of sand back-filling and about 50,000 tonnes of rock armour.

Currently the work of monorail construction is being done on the tunnel. Polystyrene sheets are placed on top of the tunnel before firming up the piers in order to stabilize the weight.

Dubai property market continues to remain positive

The residential property market in Dubai continues to climb up due to continuous demand for residential space. Both investors and end-users are attracted by the premium property market in the UAE and most new arrivals are seen opting for their own homes rather than rented homes. Also today’s investors are not ready to compromise on quality.

According to Dubai’s Ministry of Planning, the local population in Dubai is likely to grow 7.9 percent every year. Hence even with about 70,000 units yet to be handed over this year, another 1,40,000 is on the way for 2008, which indicates that demand will surpass supply at least for some time from now.

As per the Asteco research, about 80 percent of freehold residential properties that were announced during 2006 and 2005 have already been sold out, and the sales are boosted up by the expats, overseas investors and nationals.

Even secondary sales still remain positive, with better premiums being received for properties that are nearing completion. Dubai Marina and International City are good examples for success in such sales. Hence going by the current market indications, people who are still apprehensive about investing in Dubai, still have time to grab the opportunity.

Radisson Resorts inaugurates second tower in Media City

The Radisson SAS Resorts and Hotels, the hotel management firm, which form a part of the Rezidor group in Brussels, has inaugurated its second tower in Dubai Media City.

The tower has 125 rooms on the whole, with business and deluxe class rooms. It will have a new venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for Oriental-Asian cuisine.The first tower of the hotel was inaugurated during January 2006 with 121 rooms. A bridge will link the two buildings in the first floor.

The General Manager of the hotel, Siegfried Nierhaus, has stated that this location is considered ideal, as being the only major hotel in Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, it has been favourable in promoting the business performance of the hotel. He further added that they are planning to establish themselves as an events and meetings hotel in the Media City.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Four Points by Sheraton due for launch in Dubai

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, has announced the launch of two hotel properties under brand name ‘Four points’ by Sheraton, which is due for inauguration in Dubai during the current year.

Golden Sands Hotels, the owner of the two proposed hotels, is a subsidiary of a Dubai based company, the Arneco Group. As per statement from Starwood, The Four Points by Sheraton will be based in multi-storey steel and glass building consisting of 43 floors at Shaikh Zayed Road, at the heart of Dubai’s financial center.

The hotel which is due for opening during mid-2007, in the Golden Sands area, will cater to business and family segments in Dubai. The hotel will comprise 406 guest rooms, with 288 suites, 118 one, two and three bedroom units for long-term guests, in addition to six meeting rooms, all day dining outlet, a lobby lounge/bar, a fitness center and pool facilities.

Khoie Properties launches Dh.550m commercial development in RAK

Khoie Properties, the Real-estate developer, has launched a commercial development worth Dh.550 million, in a free zone area in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).

The Business Park, La Hoya Bay Business Park covering 500,000 Sq.Ft. of space, is a part of the company’s La Hoya Bay master development program, which is a project treated as a weekend retreat from Dubai.

The commercial building with Seven Storey, consisting of retail areas and offices with sizes varying from 40,000 to 10,000 Sq ft, is due for completion by March 2008. The prices for office space ranges from Dh.750 per square foot to Dh.1400 or Dh.1600 for commercial spaces.

The CEO and Chairman of Khoie Properties, Frank Koie, mentioned that residences and office space for a budget conscious customer is no-doubt a vital requirement in the region, keeping in mind the exceptional growth of Ras Al Khaimah. However, this sector is very much under-supplied.

Khoie added that the company decided an early completion date for the project, and the offices will be resizable and can be sold fully furnished without any additional cost.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Work-in-progress of The Palm Jumeirah

The final plans for construction of ‘The Palm Jumeirah’, was made by the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the year 2001.

Satellite photos taken from the space, indicated the structure of formation of the Palm from the depths of the sea during 2002. During the same year, David Beckham, the world’s best footballers booked a villa in the Palm, and the initial 4000 villas which were meant for sale were sold in three days.

Sheikh Mohammed visited and inspected The Palm during the year 2003. The Palm Jumeirah, which is more or less the size of eight football grounds, consist of seventeen branches and fronds running from the main trunk, that links the development to the mainland.

The handover of a total of 4000 built units have already begun, and in addition to this it consist of 1500 villas and 2500 apartments. A total of 40,000 labourers are continuing to build another 2000 units, thus making a total of 6,000 units.

The Palm will also include a Trump Hotel, a six storey building, a retail complex with mall, and four marinas. As for transportation, The Palm is expected to have a ten lane highway, a 1.4km sub-sea tunnel, and 5 km metro system, and ship may be used to transport residents to mainland in future.

The 5km metro system is due for completion by December 2008. The Palm is also expected to have a school, a police station and a fire station, three medical centers and two mosques. The final construction of the Palm is scheduled for the year 2012, which according to its developer Nakheel, is the eighth wonder of the world.

Tenants see discrimination among nationalities

The real estate agents in Dubai are of the opinion that there is a discrimination on the basis of nationalities that has been prevailing during leasing of apartments. According to Asfaq Ebrahim, the Managing Director of Giant Real Estate, Landlords favour European tenants over others while leasing out their houses, which the real estate agents are obliged to fulfill.

An Indian National who has lived all his life in UAE expressed his shock when the Giant Real Estate agents mentioned that Indian customers would not be leased the apartment, and that they were under “strict instructions” from landlords to consider only Europeans as tenants for the apartment.

A news reader of a leading media company, who was also from India, is said to have received a similar response, and was shocked and furious about the matter. Ebrahim, although agrees that there are plenty of landlords who emphasize that they look forward only to European tenants, however, mentioned that he had to abide by the requirement of the landlords and hence cannot express any views as to who can qualify as a tenant.

Mohammad Al Shahiba, a Lawyer, states that though there is no law in particular for dealing such matters, such practices are subject to punishment if proved. Though it cannot be considered illegal, it is an unethical practice.

But, the problem with such cases is that they are difficult to be proven. After-all, the Landlord can always defend himself by claiming that he refused the tenant for personal reasons. Nevertheless, in case racism is proven, the trade license of the Landlord can be revoked by the authorities concerned. However, Liz O Connor of Better Homes, mentioned that landlord discriminate on “family size” and not against nationality.

‘Q-Point’ – for the low and middle income groups

The Kuwait-based developer, Al Mazaya Holding, is developing ‘Q-Point’, a Dh.2 billion project, targeted at the lower and middle income groups. The UAE property market is deficient in commercial and residential projects that are affordable for the middle and lower income groups, and hence a project such as the Q-Point, will permit individuals to possess a property that is reasonably priced, yet doesn’t compromise on quality.

With an intention to fulfill its policy of developing such properties, one of the leading property developers in the region, Al Mazaya Holding, is all set to begin its Q-Point project at Al Liwain, which will be developed by Mizin.

The residential units will be submitted for registration during a marketing plan to be conducted at the Airport Expo between 5th and 19th of March. Al Mazaya has signed a deal with Mizin, for purchase of 44 units in the Al Liwan Project, situated in Dubailand. Al Mazaya also has plans of developing a series of commercial and residential buildings in the location.

Tameer Tower contract awarded to Gensler

One of the leading real estate companies in the region, Tameer Holding, has awarded the designing contract of its major project Tameer Towers, in Shams Abu Dhabi, to Gensler.

Shams Abu Dhabi, situated in Reem Island, is one among the most wonderful real estate development projects in Abu Dhabi.

This deal is following the earlier agreement between Tameer Holding and Sorouh Real Estate for development of the Gate District and Abu Dhabi Towers at Shams Abu Dhabi. The agreement between these two firms is considered as a unique one in the Abu Dhabi property market. The total cost of the whole project is expected to touch Dh.13billion.

Gensler is the biggest and reputable architectural firm in the world. The President of Tameer Holding, Omar Ayesh, has mentioned that the vast experience of Gensler will be a major contribution to the expanding portfolio of their firm across the region.

The first stage of White Bay waterfront project generates Dh.214m

The Emirates Sunland Group has stated that the sales of its first stage of waterfront zone of the White Bay Project, has generated revenue worth Dh.214million.

The Group mentioned in its statement that Stage one has been completely sold out, and stage five is also almost getting sold out, and this has led to release of stage two, which again comprises of canal and waterfront villas, mid-rise apartments and garden villas.

The Dh.11billion White bay project, is a resort-kind, residential community which is planned to be constructed around two man made islands, along the seashore of Umm Al Quwain.

The first stage of the $3billion community was launched at Cityscape, during last December, with 75 luxury waterfront villas, each of which has a direct access to the beach.

The White Bay community is planned to be built around Central Marina, in such a way that the town center faces the waterfront. The walkway along the water-side will have cafes, fashion boutiques, open air restaurants etc. and will be a place where the residents can relax and enjoy the town’s natural beauty. The area will be the main entertainment and cultural zone of the community. Two hotels on either side of the town center will provide eye-catching views, in addition to the gardens and the water. The community will also have a retirement residence which provides the latest medical facilities for those who wish to spend their retirement days in a resort style community.

Secondary sale of Palm Jumeirah units picking up

The Palm Jumeirah units secondary market is picking up momentum, after a comparatively slow beginning.

According to developer Nakheel, the phase one units constituting 2500 apartments and 1400 villas, that were sold out since 2002 has seen a dramatic rise in prices, since its handover which commenced last year.

The “signature villas” (five and six bedrooms), which were sold off for Dh.4.6 million, are now priced ranging from Dh.12 million to Dh.20million. The Shoreline Apartments, facing the sea, have witnessed a 120 percent appreciation in value after being put on sale.

Several members of past and current England football team are among the celebrity residents.

The next phase of sales is scheduled to begin on March 11th, once the 1200 apartments of the Marina Residence are completed. The units are scheduled for completion in December 2008. The initial prices of the units are yet to be revealed.