Dubai developers seek cross-border projects

Damac says it is in negotiations on real estate projects in countries within the area

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By  Eudore Chand Published  October 30, 2004

Armed with the experience of promoting major successful developments in Dubai, leading local property developers are beginning to look at real estate projects elsewhere in the region. The lead is being taken by large-scale developers, who are understood to be negotiating several projects in and around the Gulf. Dubai has been a recipient of interest from regional investors and developers, led by International Financial Advisors (IFA) Group of Kuwait. It is developing projects worth US $800 million on Dubai’s Palm islands. Outward investment in large-scale projects has so far been limited. Historically, there has been some cross-border development of residential buildings by GCC nationals. But a large project such as those that being carried out at waterfront complexes, are yet limited. Damac Properties, which claims to be Dubai’s largest private sector property developer, told Construction Week, that it is negotiations to develop other projects outside of the UAE. “We are looking at other countries in the region. We are in negotiations, though as yet there is nothing concrete,” said Hussain Sajwani, Damac Group chairman. “Iraq, too is one of the most important regional markets, but once it has stabilised.” “We have by now positioned Damac as a company that can play a regional role. The regional market is growing at a very high speed. There is huge demand for housing in the region and to meet that we have strengthened out team. We have 200 in the management team from around the world. We have 10 offices the world over and more are on the way,” said Damac chairman. Emaar Properties and Nakheel, too, are reported to be looking at opportunities outside of the UAE. Sajwani laid the claim for Damac to be the largest private sector real estate developer by revealing that the group is building 11 towers in various locations of New Dubai at a cost outlay of some Dhs3 billion. “We have sold more than 2500 apartments out of an approximately 3000 built or under construction. We have just announced the 50-storey Ocean Heights, out biggest project, and DIFC Tower II, but the previous nine have all been sold out. We have buyers from almost 30 nationalities,” he said. The company recently opened its third sales centre, across the road from Deira City Centre. Its other centres are at Dubai Media City and Dubai International Financial Centre.

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