"BRETT SIEGEL IS ONE OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE IN MIDDLE EAST REAL ESTATE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING UAE MEGA PROJECTS." Khizer Schon Husain, VP, Schon Properties, Dubai

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ventures Middle East Report Forecasts $45 Billion GCC Infrastructure Contracts In 2014

A new report forecasts that a more than USD 45 billion of infrastructure contracts will be awarded by the end of 2014 - double the USD 22.6 billion awarded in 2012.

The report 'GCC Infrastructure Market 2014,' prepared by Ventures Middle East, gives a snapshot of the billions of dollars being spent across the region with a focus on five areas: rail, roads, airports, ports and free trade zones.

The report also calculates that USD 97 billion of rail contracts are already underway as all six countries work towards the planned 2,117km GCC-wide rail network by 2018.

The Ventures report says almost USD 300 billion will be spent on airports in the Middle East over the next five years with passenger numbers in the GCC expected to reach almost 4 billion by 2017. And every GCC country is involved in expanding its seaports with an estimated USD 25 billion of ports expansion and investment planned.

Qatar has invested USD 8.2 billion on a state-of-the-art industrial port, Doha’s New Port Project, which is set to be completed ten years ahead of schedule in 2020.

Alongside its analysis of the current infrastructure market, the report prepared by Ventures Middle East in association with The Big 5 construction exhibition taking place in Dubai in November, gives guidance on licensing and registering your product or service in the region.

A vital part of a country’s infrastructure development is free trade zones and all countries in the GCC except Saudi Arabia offer them, though the UAE has the vast majority with 38.

The report says: “Free Trade Zones, or Special Economic Zones, are designated areas where governments allow businesses to set up. The UAE has the highest number of Free Zones in the GCC at 38, 20 of which are in the Emirate of Dubai.”

The report explains how they benefit foreign companies and suppliers and offers a checklist for any company looking to do business in the lucrative infrastructure sector.

To encourage international manufacturers and suppliers to set up their business in the UAE, The Big 5 organizes a free seminar on 'How to Trade in the UAE,' providing detailed information about free zones, legal framework and a step by step guide on how to do business in the country.

Adil Al Zarooni, senior vice president of sales at the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) and Economic Zone will be one of the keynote speakers at the How to Trade Seminar.

He will offer an insight into the way free zones operate across the GCC. Mr. Al Zarooni states: “I will be speaking about the types of businesses and industries that will be attracted and I will highlight some of the success stories from Jafza.”

The Big 5 runs from 17 – 20 November at the Dubai World Trade Center and will be open from 11:00am to 7:00pm daily.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DAMAC Sees Most Successful Cityscape Ever

Senior executives at DAMAC Properties, one of Dubai's leading luxury real estate developers, has hailed this year's Cityscape Global as its most productive to date.

The DAMAC Properties stand was packed throughout the three day event, with investors from all over the world looking to learn more about the company's latest luxury master development, AKOYA Oxygen.

The 55 million sqft project in Dubailand was the highlight of a high quality show which reaffirmed the global belief in the Dubai real estate market.

“The last three days has shown investors belief in Dubai's fundamentals; this year's Cityscape Global has been the busiest ever for DAMAC Properties,” said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties. “Dubai is set on a stable growth pattern and the response to AKOYA Oxygen and our full luxury portfolio is testament to that.”

DAMAC Properties had a number of important announcements at the show: revealing that The Trump Organization will manage its 18-hole, championship-standard golf course in AKOYA Oxygen and that it has broken ground on a 1,250 key hotel in Business Bay, in collaboration with Paramount Hotels & Resorts - a project which will create the third largest hotel in Dubai.

‘The Paramount Hotel Dubai, Downtown’ will showcase timeless Hollywood elegance with contemporary styling and a polished integration of elements of Paramount Pictures movies through high tech media mapping and digital signage. As a complement, the property will honor its own identity influenced by the local creative communities, becoming a living showcase of contemporary arts reflected in every facet of the hotel.

“Dubai remains the strongest real estate market in the world. The right product at the right time with the right luxury developer is still a huge draw to savvy investors looking to capitalize on the emirate's safe-haven status,” added El Chaar. “We remain steadfast in our belief in Dubai and the core fundamentals that support its strong growth.”

Established in 2002, DAMAC has delivered almost 11,000 units to date and currently has a development portfolio of over 26,000 units at various stages of progress and planning as of June 30th 2014, which includes over 10,000 hotel rooms and serviced hotel apartments.

Monday, September 22, 2014

TECOM Investments Outlines Expansion At Cityscape Global

TECOM Investments, the master developer of Dubai’s leading industry-focused business parks, today invited investors to explore the many exciting opportunities across the retail, residential and hospitality sectors within its portfolio. TECOM Investments also outlined the enhancements planned for its existing business parks, provided a progress update on the key developments scheduled for release in 2015, and reaffirmed its commitment to support Dubai’s ongoing economic growth and development.

Badr Al Gargawi, CEO Development & Planning at TECOM Investments, said: “TECOM Investments was born from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to turn the Emirate into a knowledge economy with the announcement of Dubai Internet City in 1999. 15 years and 11 thriving business parks later, we remain fully committed to this vision and focused on developing it further by continuing to master plan and deliver a portfolio of successful business parks.”

To support the drive for investment across retail, residential and hospitality, new land plots will be released within and adjacent to TECOM Investments’ business parks in 2015, offering opportunities for local, regional and global investors in prime locations.

The strategic focus for TECOM Investments’ business parks in 2015 is to both enhance the existing offering for its business partners, and to release more office space onto the market, particularly in well connected, growth locations. Overall, TECOM Investments is developing 1 million sqft of additional office space, spread out across its business parks. These initiatives represent an overall investment of AED 1.5 billion.

TECOM Investments has pioneered the concept of community development to support its thriving free zone business parks. The company’s prime locations of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village are examples of this, with a 37,000 strong workforce benefiting from a mix of hospitality, retail, and commercial products. TECOM Investments plans to replicate this approach across its other business parks.

In addition, Dubai Industrial City, which is a strategic location for TECOM Investments due to its close proximity to Dubai World Central and the planned Expo 2020 site, will see additional infrastructure development and the diversification of its product offering within the site.

Mr Al Gargawi also provided an update on the recent launch of Villa Lantana, a freehold community of 440 contemporary family villas in Dubai’s new growth corridor of Al Barsha South. He commented:

“The construction of Villa Lantana, due for completion in the last quarter of 2015, is on track. Sales since the launch have been robust and exceeded our expectations. They have largely been driven by local and regional investors, with a key driver being TECOM Investments’ reputation for robust planning, quality construction, timely project delivery, and most importantly, knowing the needs of the end user.”

TECOM Investments also confirmed that construction of Dubai Design District, D3, the region’s first master planned hub for design and fashion excellence, which covers a total area of 21 million sqft in the heart of Dubai, is on track and set to be delivered on schedule. D3’s first project of 11 buildings of innovative office and retail space, located just minutes from Dubai’s Downtown area, will be released in the first quarter of 2015. TECOM Investments reported that the development cost of this first phase is AED 4 billion. 

Mr Al Gargawi, in discussing delivery of D3’s master plan, which was revealed ahead of Cityscape, said: “Key to the design of D3’s master plan was accommodating a broad spectrum of end users. We have achieved this by providing a real mix of land uses with a range of plot sizes. Another essential component was to optimize the utilization of existing and planned infrastructure, to ensure full integration with the surrounding areas, and to create a low-rise, pedestrian friendly scaled environment, which is unusual for Dubai, and adds another point of differentiation to the project. We have also included an abundance of public facilities and open spaces, to ensure a positive experience and a high quality of life for all those who will live, work and play there, including visitors and tourists.”

D3 will include a 1.8km Waterfront featuring design-led, luxury and boutique hotels, unique retail outlets, and stylish dining and entertainment venues. The site will provide capacity for 10,000 office workers, a creative community for up to 4,000 designers and innovators, as well as over 4,000 luxury and boutique hotel rooms. D3 has been designed to offer an environment built for creative people, by creative people.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nakheel Announces Palm Gateway Mega Project At Cityscape Global

Dubai developer Nakheel kicked off Cityscape Global  2014 with the launch today (Sunday) of The Palm Gateway – a three-tower waterfront living and leisure complex with more than 1,300 homes, a beach club, retail, dining and health and fitness facilities.

Located at the entrance to Palm Jumeirah with convenient transport links to other parts of the island and the rest of Dubai, The Palm Gateway comprises three individually designed high-rise residential buildings the tallest topping 260 meters – with one, two and three bedroom apartments available for lease.

The trio of towers will be constructed on the existing Palm Monorail Gateway terminal, the roof of which will be transformed into a 15th floor podium with infinity pool, shops and sports facilities set in extensively landscaped grounds. The Monorail is linked to the Dubai Tram and the Dubai Metro, offering convenient travel for residents and visitors at The Palm Gateway.

The Palm Gateway will also have its own beach club and park – a shaded, landscaped complex with a diverse range of waterfront dining and shopping options, pool, barbecue areas and fitness facilities, including a jogging track.

Unveiling the project at the Nakheel stand at Cityscape Global, Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, said: “The Palm Gateway brings yet another iconic, landmark project to our flagship, world-famous development of Palm Jumeirah, and adds hundreds more residential and retail units to our leasing portfolio.

“The project combines luxury beachfront living, exciting shopping, dining and entertainment and some of the best water and city views in the Middle East, and promotes sustainability, with its extensive health, wellbeing and fitness facilities and convenient transport links for travel within the surrounding areas and across Dubai.”

The Palm Gateway at a glance:

> Three towers comprising 1,313 apartments and duplexes for lease

> 5.5 million sq ft gross floor area

> Tubular Tower (261 meters, 61 floors including 46 above podium level, 520 apartments), Central Tower (211 meters, 49 floors including 32 above podium, 429 apartments); Beach Tower (205 meters, 48 floors including 34 above podium, 313 apartments)

> Additional 57 terrace apartments and duplexes within existing 14 storey Gateway building

> 4,000 parking spaces

> 15th floor landscaped podium deck with pool, sports courts and 8,600 sq ft of retail space

> Beach club with kiosks and restaurants

> Gym, spa, pools, sports courts and jogging track

> Supermarket and food court within podium building

> Onsite Palm Monorail, linked to the Dubai Tram and Dubai Metro

> Extensive views of Palm Jumeirah, the Arabian Gulf and the Dubai skyline

The Palm Gateway will join a range of other communities in Nakheel’s leasing portfolio, which now comprises around 18,500 units at developments such as The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, International City, Nad Al Sheba and Palm Jumeirah.  Nakheel’s current retail leasing offering spans more than 2.4 million sq ft, with another 6.1 million sq ft under development.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

35,000 Participants Expected At Cityscape Global

Cityscape Global, the Middle East’s largest and most influential property show, opens tomorrow (21 September) with 35,000 participants expected from around the world and exhibitor numbers climbing above 280 for the first time in five years.

According to the Dubai Land Department (DLD), supporters of the show, 6,636 properties were registered across the Emirate for the first half of the year, further underlining the sustained investor confidence in the real estate market.

Omniyat, Nikken Sekkei, Seven Tides, Sun & Sand Developers and TDIC will be among the leading developers and architects launching new projects at the three-day event, which takes place from 21-23 September at the Dubai World Trade Center

With AED113 billion worth of transactions pumped into the Dubai property industry in the last six months, DLD believes Dubai has now established itself as a prime global destination for real estate, following the implementation of new laws and regulations which safeguard investors.

HE Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of Dubai Land Department said: “Dubai’s real estate market is unique and offers a diverse range of products and services, meaning that there are opportunities for large and small investors.

“The renewed confidence in the market is a sign of Dubai’s resilience. It has proved that it can weather adverse conditions and can immediately respond by capitalizing on an improving outlook.

“Our aim is to facilitate the market’s expansion, we enact laws and regulations to find proactive solutions to problems, whilst at the same time maintaining the rights of all investors.”

The Middle East’s largest and most influential property show is co-located with three dedicated and expert-led conferences, the Global Real Estate Summit, Future Cities and the Real Estate Brokers Summit, which are expected to bring together more than 1000 senior real estate professionals.

Also running in tandem with the exhibition is the Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets. Consisting of 13 categories, winners will be announced at an elaborate ceremony taking place at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, on 22 September in Dubai.

Cityscape Global 2014 is supported by the Foundation Sponsors Emaar, Dubai Properties and Nakheel; International Strategic Partner Property Solutions; Gold Sponsor Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC); Project Marketing Sponsor Aqua Properties; Official Architect Architecture & Planning Group (APG); Official Broker Trisl Real Estate; Official Mortgage Provider Abu Dhabi Finance; Silver Sponsors Apex Real Estate Development L.L.C. and Tecom Investments; and Property Registration Trustee Partner Tamleek Property Transfer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anantara Residences Dubai Takes On New York And London

Release of exclusive Anantara Residences penthouses at upcoming Cityscape Global 2014 will offer international investors a high value, high yield alternative to the London and New York property markets together with full access to five-star hotel facilities.

Dubai-based developer Seven Tides has announced the release of 12 ultra-exclusive penthouse apartments at its Anantara Residences Dubai on Palm Jumeirah, the two to four-bedroom ‘blank canvas’ units, starting from US $5.5 million.

Occupying prime positions in both the South and North Towers of the five-star residential community, the penthouses will be presented to investors at this year’s Cityscape Global exhibition, which takes place in Dubai from 21-23 September 2014.

To date, two penthouses have been sold with the remaining available units offered between 7,468 and 13,478 -square feet of shell and core space. All come with spectacular panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, Atlantis Hotel, Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina skyline, as well as private pools and extensive terraces for private entertaining.

“The Anantara Residences penthouses rank right up there with comparable investment opportunities in other global gateway destinations such as Paris, Rome or Vancouver, but still offer remarkable value in terms of price and square footage compared to properties in London or New York,” said Abdulla Bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides.

“In addition to lifestyle considerations, international HNWIs are looking at location appeal and investment potential, and this is where Dubai – and Palm Jumeirah especially – with its unparalleled standard of living, global connectivity and business environment are ticking all the right boxes,” he added.

Priced from AED 20.5 million (US $5.5 million) up to AED 40 million (US $10.9 million) for shell and core space, comparable units in other high profile international cities would get you a 2,691-square foot five-bedroom furnished penthouse overlooking the Esplanade des Invalides in Paris’ 19th arrondissement (US $4.9 million); the top floor of a former palace in Rome with 4,575-square feet of space and Tiber river views (US $4.95 million); or, for a little extra, a three-level, seven terrace and two elevator penthouse in Vancouver’s Grace Tower (US $7.9 million).

However, New York and London remain a different story with US $26 million the asking price for a mere 5,000-square foot five-bedroom penthouse within The Park Laurel on West 63rd Street in Manhattan, and a four-bedroom, 4,100-square foot Chelsea Harbor area penthouse in London costing upwards of US $15 million.

“Space really does come at a premium and this is where the Anantara Residences offers investors an added advantage with an incredible amount of both indoor and al fresco space, plus exclusive access to the five-star facilities and services at the adjacent Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa.

“However, besides the current value aspect, the Palm is also in a league of its own when capital appreciation is considered. The price per square foot for villas has increased by 55% over the last year and 31% for apartments all contributing towards significant yield figures – performance levels other destinations will find difficult to compete with,” added Bin Sulayem.

Residents can enjoy the benefits of usage of the hotel’s 4,000-square foot gym, 110,000-square feet of temperature controlled lagoon pools, six world-class dining and entertainment venues, signature Anantara Spa and private stretch of white sand beach.

Bin Sulayem also confirmed that 70% of the one and two-bedroom units in the South Tower have already been sold, with the recently released North Tower also performing well.

“Our clients are true global citizens, with buyers from around the world including GCC nationals, Russians, Asians and Europeans; and so Cityscape Global offers us another great platform through which we can reach out to prospective investors,” he remarked.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Saudis Will Invest Big At Cityscape Global

A leading Saudi investment and development company makes Cityscape Global debut ahead of US $480million REIT announcement as it looks to partner up on local and regional real estate portfolio development including substantial land bank opportunities

Riyadh-headquartered investment and development company, Al Ibrahim Investment Group, will participate as a first-time exhibitor at Cityscape Global 2014 with an SAR 5billion Ryal (US $1,333million) investment purse and the goal of developing long-term strategic partnerships to grow its real estate portfolio.

Owned by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Chairman of the Group, the group already has a healthy portfolio of active regional real estate projects plus a substantial land bank that includes a prime site in Egypt.

According to Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al Ibrahim, Vice Chairman of Al Ibrahim Investment Group, the company is looking at various asset class opportunities from residential and commercial projects to hotels and other specialty sectors.

“We already work with an astute group of international investors from across the Kingdom as well as Egypt, Tunisia, France, Germany and the UK, and our future vision is to set up a series of investment funds encompassing both domestic and international projects, in alliance with equally visionary partners across a variety of industry sectors,” he said.

Al Anwa for Investment & Real Estate Development, the company’s real estate arm, will reveal details of its latest real estate investment trust (REIT) at Cityscape Global, which will be one of the largest private REITs in the KSA valued at SAR 1.8billion (US $480million).

With an established track record in the GCC real estate sector including the establishment of REITs, residential project development and tourism and trade-related endeavors, Al Ibrahim is also keen to ensure that its projects deliver in terms of adding value to the communities where they are located and the local economy.

“If we use Saudi Arabia as an example where, as an investor, developer and landlord, we already own projects in strategic locations including Riyadh, Mecca and Jeddah province, it is a fundamental part of our mandate that we provide strong returns on investment for our partners as well as benefit the local community and economy,” he said.

The Al Ibrahim Investment Group umbrella also includes the Saudi Egyptian Company for Tourism Development, which owns some of Cairo’s most prominent hotels including the Grand Hyatt, plus an exclusive River Nile location (investment lands) and a number of plots in Cairo and at Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.

It also owns and operates two luxury hotels in the popular Tunisian resort of Sousse, through its Saudi Tunisian Investment and Development company subsidiary, as well as ownership of a 100,000-square meter plot of prime coastal land that is ready for development as a signature mixed-use residential-meets-tourism project.

“At the moment we are preparing for the imminent launch of a number of schemes focusing on quality and added-value services for our projects and existing developments in the Central Region of the Kingdom, which will contribute to maintaining a balance between supply and demand, and meet the needs and desires of the market,” said Salman bin Abdullah bin Fadilah, General Manager, Al Anwa.

He also noted that the company intends to launch a new investment project located on the King’s Road in Jeddah in addition to an integrated services residential scheme in the north of the province. Al Anwa has also started work on a preliminary study and design concept for an ‘under-wraps’ project for the Jeddah Corniche.

Cityscape Global will take place September 21-23 at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

DAMAC And FENDI Team Up For Ultra Luxury Projects

DAMAC Properties has launched the world's first FENDI-styled villas. The 34 properties are located in a private-gated community in the 42 million sqft AKOYA by DAMAC master development off Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai.

Each unit comes with interior designs and decor from the FENDI Casa range and offers a unique and stylish interpretation of the iconic Italian fashion brand, all of which is uniquely designed by FENDI’s specialist interior designers, to offer a contemporary home for the most prestigious living experience.

The villas, which come with a starting price of AED 36,000,000 and will be ready in Q1 2017, have a prime location overlooking the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai. The villas vary in size from 7,900 sqft to 16,767 sqft.

“These exclusive, limited edition, FENDI villas are being designed with only the most stylish and demanding clientele in mind,” said Ziad El Chaar, Managing Director, DAMAC Properties. “The creativity and elegance brought to life in the world’s first FENDI villas take pride of place in one of the most desirable locations in AKOYA by DAMAC.

Given the limited number of villas available, combined with the response we have already seen since announcing this project, we expect these select designs to be very well received.”

FENDI Casa translates the FENDI savoir faire and creativity, as well as its distinctive materials, into elegant objects and cinematic ambiances that are timeless and exceptionally made. Fur is used for the sofas, cushions and carpets; leather on the couches is treated with the same flair as Selleria handmade and numbered bags; marbles, stones and woods are mixed in inventively precious ways. In pure FENDI style, pieces and details are so carefully streamlined they become instantly iconic, from the Crystal Chair to the spectacular Urano Bed.

DAMAC Properties has a long-established collaboration with FENDI. The two companies are also collaborating on projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Dubai Marina in the UAE.

DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments, housed within a 150 meter high tower overlooking the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, will provide refined luxurious interiors by the Italian fashion house for more than 100 luxury serviced hotel apartments.

The two companies are also partnering on the interiors for private apartments on the top 40-storeys of DAMAC Heights, which looks out over the Palm Jumeirah.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dubai Property Show Announced

Sumansa Exhibitions, the organizers of the internationally acclaimed Indian Property Show and Dubai’s popular Ramadan Night Market announced the grand launch of 'Dubai Property Show' today at a Press Conference held at Burj Al Arab, Dubai. The exclusive property expo will be a highly targeted and unique showcase of Dubai and UAE properties and the first event of its kind promising to get Real Estate Developers, Sales & Marketing Agents, Hospitality Developers, Hotels, Financial Institutions, Government Departments, Architects & Interior Designers among others under the same umbrella with an opportunity to meet high-net worth customers and investors on a global platform. Dubai Property Show will be held at the prestigious and centrally located Olympia London over 3 days from Feb 27, 2015 - March 1, 2015. The organizers are expecting 2000 serious property buyers to visit the show which will be spread over a total area of 3800sqm with 120 exhibiting stands.

 “We at Sumansa are very proud to present the innovative and highly exclusive concept of Dubai Property Show. Under the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai has already attracted global attention and created an extensive investment opportunity for the world, much of which revolves around the hospitality and real estate industry. Now, the Dubai Property Show intends to ride on this wave, creating awareness about the real estate opportunities in Dubai and highlighting the benefits of investing in property. If you are a real estate developer from Dubai (or the UAE), with a  keen interest in exploring new market opportunities and expanding  your client base, the Dubai Property Show is the place to be in  2015”, said Sunil Jaiswal, CEO Sumansa Exhibitions.

“Dubai’s real estate is one of the best markets in the world and surely number one in the Middle East region, Dubai has achieved a great reputation world wide as a favorite tourist & business destination. On the other hand, British property investors are savvy, they understand the potential here and also value no tax policy on rental and capital gains, plus no restriction on repatriation of funds just makes the Dubai real estate market not only fruitful but easy and transparent”, commented Jaiswal.

Dubai Property Show will allow participants to reach a completely new and high-potential customer base. A base that has a large group of financiers, investors and end-users that is yet untapped on a large scale by Dubai’s developers. That global-thinking, international customer base is in London, United Kingdom – the location for the inaugural Dubai Property Show. A London launch of the Dubai Property Show will give exhibitors access to more than 8 million Londoners and millions living in other European countries. Additionally, in the months of February to March, London will also see visitors from all parts of the world and all of them can be the potential customers. Exhibitors at the show can find a completely new audience to sell projects to, and even find investors and finance companies interested in partnering with them to take their ideas forward.

Here is a link to the Dubai Property Show website:
http://www.dubaipropertyshow.ae/#home 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures Join Forces On AED 2.3 Billion Royal Estates Mega Project

Following the recent joint venture agreement that was penned down between Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures, the partners revealed the project name and details while announcing the pre-launch phase.

Royal Estates in Dubai Investments Park is what the 2.3 billion master planned development is named. The beautifully landscaped community grounds will house 2000 units in all, comprising apartments, villas, boutique retail spaces, an office complex and a luxury hotel.

The Royal Estates will go on sale beginning the first week of August with apartment units starting at AED 450,000 and townhouses from AED 1.6 million on up.

Atiq Merchant, Director, PAL Developments LLC, said: "The Royal Estates community provides a sanctuary of purposefully designed spaces complimented by inspired aesthetics that celebrate the innovation and modernization that are synonymous to Dubai today." He added, "It presents an outstanding opportunity, providing a range of choices for investors and home owners in a locale where demand is expected to rise ahead of the Dubai 2020 Expo. Given our team's collective inclination to create an ideal community that rejoices family living, Royal Estates promises to be a perfect backdrop for all those precious memories waiting to be created."

“A step above the rest is what we have strived to create with Royal Estates by ensuring every aspect of the development is nothing less than the best. We are excited about the venture and commit our best to all investors from quality to delivery”, said Osman Valli, Chairman, Aristocrat Star Real Estate Development.

“The Royal Estates development is the fruition of a common vision shared between the team, a vision to create accessible investment opportunities within high quality real estate in Dubai. The project reflects Tony Ashai’s contemporary and chic design sensibilities while being housed in the midst of lush green landscaping. And considering the attractive introductory price points we have finalized, Royal Estates has all that it takes to become every family’s dream home”, said, Parvez Khan, Chairman, Pacific Ventures.

The project sales will commence on August 7th, 2014 and Phase 1 of the project comprised of 400 units shall be delivered during the first quarter of 2016.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Al Thuriah Launches Two New Towers In The Sahara Complex

Al Thuriah, a leading service provider to the real estate and construction industry, recently announced two big milestones – firstly, the Sahara 3 Tower will be completed ahead of schedule and ready for occupancy by residents before the end of 2014; secondly, the company has announced the construction of two more high-rise residential towers Sahara 4 and Sahara 5.

The new towers will be located in the Sahara Complex, which is an ideal location at the border between Sharjah and Dubai. Considered the gateway to Sharjah, the towers will be easily accessible and will have three hospitals, more than 10 schools and the Sahara Mall in the vicinity. The towers are strategically placed to offer proximity to major landmarks like Dubai International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, American University of Sharjah, etc.

The Sahara Complex is a very peaceful and quiet area, and the towers will have an amazing view of the golden sunsets at Mamzar beach and the green foliage of Mamzar park. The building material and fittings that will be used for these two towers will be best-in-class and from leading construction materials manufacturers and suppliers.

Sahara 4 will have 6 floors of reserved parking space and 27 residential floors while Sahara 5 will have 5 floors of parking space and 15 floors of residential space. The spacious flats serve as a perfect haven for family moments enjoyed amidst well-appointed luxury in a lavish setting, complemented by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow for brilliant rays of natural sunlight to stream in and brighten the days.

The apartments will be well-equipped with 24-hour security and complete facilities management. Both the towers will also offer in-building relaxation and recreational options like a swimming pool with lifeguards, and a supervised gym and health club.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Raymond Khouzami, CEO, Al Thuriah, said, "With Sahara Complex, we have created a winning formula. A complete package that combines the ingredients of practicality, class and serenity with a guaranteed build quality and timely commitment. This is the success story of the Sahara Towers."

The apartments in both Sahara Tower 4 and Sahara Tower 5 are available for Freehold Ownership as per Sharjah Government Rules and Regulations to GCC nationals and Arabs with a UAE Resident Visa.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Schon's Dubai Lagoon Set To Go!

Schon Properties, a leading Dubai property developer, has successfully secured an investment of AED 339 million for the completion of the Dubai Lagoon project. The investment agreement was signed with Xanadu Real Estate Development LLC, a local real estate development company at the Lands Department on Monday, June 2nd. Simultaneously an agreement between the developer and PGS Gulf Contracting Company was signed. This agreement awarded a construction contract worth AED 678 million to the contracting company for the Dubai Lagoon project.

Mr. Danial H. Schon, Vice President of Schon Properties, commented, “This is a turning point for Dubai Lagoon project and we are pleased to tie-up with Xanadu Real Estate Development to complete construction of the project. The funds are being utilized for the completion of Dubai Lagoon project, which also includes the Juma Masjid located within the residential project. Schon-Xanadu have instructed PGS Gulf Contracting to enhance the finishing of the project by including the highest quality items. Given its location and quality construction, Dubai Lagoon is poised to be one of the best master development communities in Dubai.”

Speaking on behalf of Xanadu Real Estate Development, Mr. Adel A AlBreiki, Managing Director, said, “Xanadu is one of the few developers to have consistently delivered projects through the downturn of the real estate market. The prospects of the location are excellent, with the EXPO site in close proximity, and huge appreciation can be expected in coming years. We are excited to partner with Schon Properties to deliver this project.”

Speaking on behalf of PGS Gulf Contracting, Mr. Cenc Yabas stated, “Having a team of over 2,000 personnel on our site, we are more than equipped for this job. Deliveries are expected to commence starting from March 2016 until December 2016. Mobilization works have commenced onsite. Furthermore, construction prices have been covered through the contract with the developer. We are set to go. “

Present during the signing at the Land Department were the Deputy CEO of Rera, Mr. Yousef Al Hashimi, Mr. Emad Farouq the senior legal advisor of the Dubai Land Department and Mr. Abdulrahman Al Yasi from the Trust Accounts Department. Representing Schon Properties was Mr. Danial H. Schon and Mr. Firas Hassan. Adel Albreiki, Managing Partner of Xanadu Real Estate Development and Mr. Cenc Yabas, Managing Partner of PGS Gulf Contracting signed the construction contract.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dubai's Top 5 Mega Projects

With a combined value of close to $240bn, Dubai’s biggest real estate projects will massively redefine the emirate’s landscape in the next decade.

MEED Projects, which tracks various construction projects across the region, has compiled the latest data on ongoing property developments in Dubai and has listed the top five projects that will have a massive impact on the city’s socio-economic landscape in the coming years.

The biggest in terms of value is Meraas Holdings’ Jumeirah Gardens project, estimated at $89.5bn and is due for completion in 2021, followed by Dubai Holding’s Dubai Land development, valued at $61bn with a completion date set in 2020.

The ongoing $16.7bn Dubai World Central development that will be completed in 2030 came in next, followed by Limitless’ Downtown Jebel Ali project, estimated at $14.6bn set for completion in 2020.

Rounding up the top five is the Al Jadaf Area Development Culture Village (Arabian Bays) project by Dubai Holding which has a budget of $11.6bn to be completed by 2017.

MEED released the data ahead of the forthcoming Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference, scheduled on June 9-10, 2014 at the Grosvenor House, an event that aims to provide clarity on the viability of Dubai as a long-term, sustainable real estate investment opportunity.

Endorsed by the Dubai Land Department, MEED’s Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference will address the development and sustainable evolution of Dubai’s real estate market – the world’s fastest growing real estate market, according to Forbes magazine – with fresh insights from leading local and international property experts.

“Dubai is shaping up as an intelligently master planned Mega City, with a booming economy. We now hear of aerotropolis community concepts – cities built around airports – which will most likely emerge in Dubai as it gears up in a big way to develop the Al Maktoum International Airport as a centerpiece development in time for the World Expo 2020 event,” said Julio Armando De Quesada, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Group, Mashreq

With residential property prices returning to an upward direction in recent months, and a fresh new wave of projects over the next 8 years in the lead up to World Expo 2020, real estate analysts generally see Dubai’s property sector booming in a big way.

Among the highly touted projects include the ongoing Business Bay project, currently valued at $11.2bn, which is expected to be fully completed in two years’ time; as well as the Muhammed Bin Rashid City, which is being developed jointly by Dubai Holding, Emaar, and Meydan Sobha at a cost of $11bn for completion in 2023.

Emaar’s Downtown Dubai development project, with a budget of $10.9bn, is expected to be fully realized in 2020, the time when Meydan also hopes to complete the full development of its Meydan City project at a cost of $7.3bn. Add to this the Dubai Government’s Expo 2020 build-up, which will cost $7bn and will be in place by 2019.

“As the market revives there is an imperative need for more accurate, real-time and definitive information on Dubai’s real estate sector to manage the risk of overheating of the sector,” said Edmund O’ Sullivan, Chairman, MEED Events, organizers of Dubai Real Estate 2020.

The event will create a platform for Dubai’s regulators and leading real estate institutional investors, government and private developers, lenders, advisers, consultants and property professionals to discuss issues and identify solutions for the emirate to move towards a more mature real estate market. Highlights of the conference include critical discussions by the Central Bank of the UAE, Dubai Land Department and RERA on fiscal regulations, reducing the dependency of developers on investors and limiting speculative buying, as well as Dubai Municipality presentation outlining the future real estate development plans, land release programs and the overall master plan for the city.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will present a detailed analyst’s view on the impact of Expo 2020 for the UAE’s real estate sector, providing fresh insights on where the opportunities lie as Dubai gears up to host its biggest event yet. Conference delegates will also be able to receive hands-on tactical investment insight from key institutional investors such as real estate funds, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, investment banks, private equity, and others with collective assets under management (AuM) of over US$10bn.

Ian Albert, Regional Director, Colliers International Middle East, said: “The UAE property market is currently experiencing an exciting phase in its development with a number of significant projects scheduled to break ground and many already underway. These projects will drive growth in the property market and the wider UAE economy including the hospitality and retail sectors. Winning World Expo 2020 added further stimulus to a buoyant economy underpinned by a rising population, booming tourism industry and significant environmental, cultural and infrastructure projects.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Abu Dhabi Announces More Projects!

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) announced that 13 development projects covering over four million sqm were approved during the first quarter of the year, with 70% of this area being residential.

Five of these approved projects were Master Plans, with the remaining eight being detailed Project Plans. A Master Plan is defined as separated multiple buildings, with a road network and community facilities, which must meet certain requirements and standards based on the size of the development. A detailed Project Plan is defined as a single building with no road network, but can include multiple buildings connected by a podium, and requires no community facilities.

One of the biggest project approvals was for Aldar Properties’ Al Raha Beach East Master Plan. Al Raha Beach is a mixed-use development being constructed adjacent to the E10 Highway on Abu Dhabi Mainland, close to Yas Island. The development consists of reclaimed land along the coast with a series of canals and islands interlinked by boulevards creating a unique waterfront community stretching over 20 kilometers.

Al Raha Beach East is the first phase of the overall Al Raha Beach development and will provide over 3,000 apartments, townhouses and villas as well as 50,000 sqm of prime Grade A office space.

Another large Master Plan project approval was for further development of the Petroleum Institute on the Abu Dhabi Mainland, which will continue its focus on educating Emiratis in areas of resource exploration and field development, gas and petrochemical production and processing, and other engineering and geosciences applications. The new enhancements to the campus will include a new male undergraduate center, a new research center and research park, and a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program and residential blocks. The Petroleum Institute project will be developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Master Plans for UAE National residential projects were approved for Aldar Properties’ Al Shabahat development in Al Ain (for sale to UAE Nationals), and the Bida Al Mutawa development (which will be developed by Musanada as part of the UAE National Housing Program) in Al Gharbia, which collectively will offer over 240 villas, as well as community centers, parks and mosques, to UAE Nationals.

Also approved was the Al Hai Al Tejari project in Al Gharbia, which was announced at the Al Gharbia Development Forum in Abu Dhabi. The project is a mixed-use development at the center of Ghayathi City, located on the main road that connects the major settlements of the Western Region.  It will include a town center, office and retail space, residential apartments and a cinema, and will vastly improve the lifestyle of the existing community in that area.

The remaining eight approvals were for detailed Project Plans, which included Farglory’s EW11 development on Al Maryah Island and Aldar Properties’ Shams Abu Dhabi development on Al Reem Island, both residential projects.

In the education sector, a Project Plan for the new Institute of Applied Technology campus in Al Ain was approved, which will comprise a vocational high school and university for up to 2,400 female Emirati students, and will have a 2 Pearl Rating under the Estidama sustainability program.

A detailed Project Plan for an extension to Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, which will add an additional 135,000 sqm to the existing 34,500 sqm of the current campus, to serve a total of 3,000 students and 762 faculty and staff when completed, was also approved. The new campus will include Abu Dhabi’s first Medical School, an integrated Engineering College and Research & Development facilities, and will also provide students with world-class facilities such as an auditorium, students center and sports center. The University also intends to enlarge their current Discovery Center to 1,800 sqm to encourage public involvement in science and technology, with the ultimate goal of establishing Abu Dhabi as a knowledge-driven city.

Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Development Review & Estidama, UPC, said: “These approved projects bring us closer to achieving the goals of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. The Development Review team is very careful and deliberate in its evaluation of all project proposals; each one must adhere to our regulations and guidelines for planning Complete Sustainable Communities and take into account environmental, societal, cultural and economic factors, thereby ensuring that every new development is in line with the overall vision for the Emirate.”

Since 2007, the UPC’s Development Review Team has delivered 432 projects and master plans covering an area of 50 million sqm. In addition to the above, these developments include Zayed University (Zayed City), Al Maryah Island, the Guggenheim (Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi World Trade Center and Yas Waterworld, among many others.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kingdom Tower Completed By 2018!

The Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, which will be the world’s tallest tower at 1,008 meters, will be completed in December 2018, said Mounib Hammoud, CEO of Jeddah Economic Company, speaking at MEED’s Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) in Dubai.

The contractors working on the SR6bn ($1.6bn) project expect to complete the raft foundation of the tower, which is the largest of its kind in the world, in August this year. “It is the largest concrete raft in the world. In places, the thickness is five meters,” says Hammoud. “Everything in the tower is the biggest or tallest.”

The first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City will be 1.4 million square meters and will include the tower, a mall, a large mosque for 12,000 worshipers, and residential and commercial buildings. France’s BNP Paribas is the financial adviser for the deal and the local Alinma Bank is also assisting with the loan that will bridge the funding gap while the developer waits for revenues from land sales at Jeddah Kingdom City.

The contractor chosen for Kingdom Tower is the local Saudi Binladin Group. In February 2013, a joint venture of the UK-based EC Harris/Mace was awarded for the project management contract to oversee the development of the tower.

The client developing Kingdom Tower and the surrounding Kingdom City is Jeddah Economic Company, which said it is looking to raise about $1bn to help fund the estimated SR13bn ($3.5bn) first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City, together with the SR8.7bn that the shareholders of Jeddah Economic Company have provided to capitalize the company.

Land sales and off-plan property sales are expected to accelerate as construction work on the SR6bn Kingdom Tower’s superstructure starts. “We are not in a hurry to sell land as the value is increasing as the tower construction moves ahead,” said Hammoud.

++ Kingdom Tower is currently one of my favorite Mega Projects and is destined to become a World Icon. This tower will dwarf even the mighty Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Mega Projects being developed in Saudi Arabia, including Kingdom Tower, King Abdullah Economic City, King Abdullah Financial District and many others, are truly spectacular!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mega Projects Could Cost More Than Expected

With more than $2.5 trillion worth of projects in prospect in the years to 2030, the GCC is set to enjoy one of the greatest construction booms the world has ever seen.

But there are risks as well as rich prizes for those bidding for major projects in the region, says Anthony Holmes, director of the UK’s Institute for Infrastructure Studies and an internationally recognized authority on the economic impact of Mega Projects.

“The chances of there being problems with the region’s Mega Project program are enormous,” Holmes says. “Elsewhere in the world, these projects tend to go 40-80 percent over budget. International experience has also shown that big projects don’t get delivered on time.”

“What’s happening in the Middle East region to suggest the outcome will be different?” says Holmes. “There is nothing. It is all being done in the same way. This could mean that the project program in Qatar alone is going to cost at least $80bn more than budgeted.”

MEED(Middle East Economics Digest) estimates that at least 150 projects each worth a minimum of $1bn are due to be completed in the GCC by 2030. Their combined value is estimated at close to $900bn, more than one-third of the value of all projects under way at present or planned in the region.

Details of some of these Mega Projects will be comprehensively discussed at the forthcoming Arabian World Construction Summit(AWCS) on May 12-14, 2014 in the Sofitel Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. During the conference, local and international experts will also discuss project opportunities and challenges throughout the Arab world, with rising costs as one of the most important factors that could impact on completion and delivery of Mega Projects.

“What is clear is that there’s an enormous concentration of planned project activity in the region,” Holmes says. “You have to think about the material needed to execute all that work. There doesn’t seem to be sufficient work done on quantifying the needs in the years to 2030.”

The rise in costs may be something that Qatar can absorb, but competition for building material, equipment and talent will have an impact on poorer nations in the region.

“If you look at places like Turkey and Egypt, you see that they won’t be able to do the things they want,” says Holmes. “Resources are going to be diverted to Qatar and other GCC markets.”

“GCC countries also don’t have to go to the international capital market,” says Holmes. “But others in the region like Egypt, Oman and Turkey will have to. So even if GCC countries can afford the additional costs, there will be regional implications.”

Holmes, an economist and former investment banker, will moderate the infrastructure Mega Project development Masterclass during the Arabian World Construction Summit. He will also participate in the conference as an expert panelist.

At the AWCS, Holmes will highlight the risks facing all those involved with delivering Mega Projects. But his focus will be identifying actionable solutions.

“What can be done is better co-ordination, particularly in information,” he says. “You can’t make decisions about material resources unless you have information. We need someone to establish a non-partisan body and capture data about future trends in the regional projects market. And there needs to be a regional investment bank that looks only at infrastructure projects.”

Adding to Holmes’ comment on the importance of capturing hard data about future trends, Alistair Kirk, industry expert and Middle East Head of Infrastructure at EC Harris says, “Key pieces of infrastructure stimulate wider economic growth and generate agglomeration benefits – from supporting urbanization and industrial growth to providing stronger trade links. With the major construction boom expected in the region over the next 14 years, relevant industry data and research, pertaining to the infrastructure sector, is fundamental for industry players.”

“Highlighted within the 2014 Global Infrastructure Investment Index (GIII), the UAE and Qatar are highly ranked among the world’s 40 most dynamic countries with greatest potential for growth and investment in infrastructure. The analysis reveals insights into the peculiarities and opportunities in these countries, showcasing areas for long-term growth, financial risks and financial investor prospects.”

EC Harris’ GIII report is expected to launch regionally this quarter to further support the regions’ infrastructure Mega Projects. Regional experts across the sectors from EC Harris will participate and speak at the conference this week.

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS received overwhelming support from projects’ market stakeholders, such as CPC and HSBC which signed up as the event’s Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and BESIX / Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Bentley Systems as the CEO Forum Sponsor and Deloitte as Knowledge Partner.

Monday, April 28, 2014

GCC Invests Heavily In Turkish Real Estate

Demand for luxury residences in upmarket districts of Istanbul continues to rise, fueled by buyers from the Middle East who are also attracted by investment opportunities presented by developments in the city’s growing suburbs, said Turkish property agency Spot Blue International Property in April.

In March 2014 alone, foreigners bought 478 properties in Istanbul, out of a nationwide total of 1,362, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Istanbul accounted for 20 percent of all property transactions in Turkey during March. Evidence suggests that districts such as Bebek and Nişantaşı on the European side of the city, and Başdat Street on the Asian side are helping to drive foreign sales, as they attract an increasing number of wealthy citizens from the Gulf Nations. Sales to foreigners are further boosted by Middle Eastern investors targeting buy-to-let opportunities in residential developments in the suburban districts of Bahcesehir, Sariyer, Beylikduzu, Arnavutkoy and Esenyurt.

“The Gulf-Turkish affair is gaining momentum,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Only this month, Istanbul hosted an investment summit during which Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited investors from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to come to Turkey. Earlier in the year, a Turkish delegation was in Qatar promoting Turkey while a Kuwait Turkish Real Estate Forum will take place in Kuwait at the end of April. At Spot Blue we have seen a rise in interest from Kuwaitis and Qataris in particular in recent weeks. For Gulf investors, Istanbul is an attractive stepping stone between the East and West, as well as a place to be seen.”

Confidence in Istanbul’s property market has been boosted by a series of infrastructure projects set in motion by the governing AK Party, including a new mega airport and improved transport links between the Asian and European sides of the city, as well as an extension of the underground. In addition, $50 Billion has been committed to re-developing entire districts to ensure all buildings are earthquake proof. Construction is currently Turkey’s biggest industry sector.

Growth in Istanbul’s real estate market is unmatched by European markets, most of which remain depressed, and price growth is occurring at similar levels to London. “Typical buy-to-let investments are in the $150,000 to $200,000 bracket,” continued Julian Walker. “The market is moving quickly though. Our representative in Istanbul reports that new apartments in prime areas of Beylikduzu that were on the market six months ago for $80,000 could be worth circa $100,000 once the development is completed later in the year.”

Complementing Istanbul’s growing status amongst the international jet set is its increasing appeal to tourists. The city was voted the best place to visit in the world in this year’s TripAdvisor Awards, while 35 million people visited the country as a whole last year, a 10 percent increase over 2012, according to the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.