Firms try to recoup Light House losses

Contractors to fight for lost cash after US $10 m tower developer absconds from project.

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By  Angela Giuffrida Published  June 3, 2006

Contractors are chasing major losses incurred on the US $10 million (AED40 million) Light House tower project in Dubai Marina, after its developer fled the country. Construction on the 15-storey building came to a standstill in February this year after the developer, Emad Ayoub, abandoned the project. Although the foundation work was completed on time all other work was stopped before it was handed over to main contractor, Ayoubco. The Dutch Foundation Company claims it has lost around $1 million, after finishing all the piling and shoring work as scheduled. Neeman Maalouf, administration manager, Dutch Foundation Company, told Construction Week: “We were paid some of the money, but not all of it, and some cheques bounced. “We’re now trying to trace our losses. I was told the company closed down and that the owner [Emad Ayoub], had run away. “It has affected us — we don’t make enough across other projects to justify losing this much money, and not all projects will make money for us.” Haras Vakyl, financial controller at Dimensions Engineering Consultants, claims the scheme has cost the company its entire fee of $136,000. “We did the design work and spent two years working on it,” he said. “We didn’t get any of our money. We sent a letter of complaint to Emaar, [who wasn’t involved in the project but is now the diluter], to prevent the developer from handing the project over to someone else. We also intend to get more legal advice to take this further as the developer is no longer in the country.” Progress on the project had been slow since its launch in 2004, which Ayoub allegedly blamed on ‘technical issues’. Foundation work was only completed in January this year, just two months before Ayoub claimed the entire project would be finished. The scandal — believed to be the worst to have hit the Dubai property market — has left at least 90 investors, who had placed deposits of around $93,000 on ‘off-plan’ apartments in the tower, more than $3.7 billion out of pocket.

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