Al Mazaya drives forward with commercial growth

Regional construction and real estate players are making significant waves in the UAE market. Fathi Damiri, assistant vice president (Dubai projects) at Al Mazaya Real Estate, outlines the company’s inspired growth from Kuwait to the burgeoning construction sector across the emirates, and spies a local need for more commercial developments.

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By  Zoe Naylor Published  January 28, 2006

|~|106int200.gif|~|Kuwait-based Al Mazaya real estate is making giant steps into the UAE market, with projects in Jumeirah Lake Towers and Dubai Healthcare city.|~|Can you explain Al Mazaya’s recent land acquisition?

Al Mazaya Real Estate, a subsidiary of Al Mazaya Holding Company, has purchased three plots of land in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers area, in a deal worth US $49 million (AED180 million). We now plan to develop a business centre and three 60-storey commercial towers.

Commercial offices are in high demand in Dubai because of the phenomenal growth of the city. There is a lot of residential development here, but it’s really lacking in terms of commercial development.

What will the project involve?

The finer details are still being decided but it will be a business centre with conference halls and office buildings, incorporating state-of-the-art business facilities. We’ve only just acquired the plots and still need to do planning into the actual design and construction.

We’ve assigned an international engineering office to prepare the plans for the project design. Work is expected to begin within six months and the scheduled completion date will be the end of 2008.

What do you think of the cost of development land in Dubai?

What we have seen so far in terms of real estate prices and land costs is that it has definitely risen from last year, and even in the last six months we’ve seen an increase. The demand is very strong and there’s a healthy market here in Dubai — investors are encouraged to come to this area and invest in this sector. There is an equality of investors from other Gulf countries, as well as from overseas. So the demand is obviously outweighing supply.

Do you think there will be a move towards developing commercial space in this area as opposed to residential?

Yes, and this is our aim. We look at various options that we have for development here, we’ve studied the market and we’re focused. But we’re not focused on just one thing; we’ve developed residential, commercial, hotel — whatever the market needs, we’re here to take care of it and explore different opportunities.

Do you think the residential market in Dubai is approaching saturation?

From all the signs to date, no. If you consider areas such as Jumeirah Beach Residence and Jumeirah Lake Towers, for example, there are quite a few residential towers. But there’s still a lack of commercial towers in Dubai, and that’s why we’re now looking into developing this kind of project.

Which residential developments do you have?

We have Sky Gardens residential towers in the Dubai International Financial Centre, and we also have two residential towers in Jumeirah Lake Towers. We’re also working on a project in Dubailand, where we will carry out the complete development of around 175 villas — this includes the design, the construction and the construction management. Work is due to commence early this year.

What other projects are you involved in?

We have seven buildings under construction at the Dubai Healthcare City, catering to the needs of the healthcare community. The development incorporates a mix of offices, shops, pharmacies and clinics, and is being completed in stages.

Phase one is due for completion in March this year; phase two will be finished in May 2006; and the final phase in
July 2006.

Does Al Mazaya have business interests outside of Dubai?

Our head office is in Kuwait, where we have a variety of villa projects, residential and commercial tower projects. We’re also involved in the Kuwait Business Town development, which is made up of seven buildings, including residential, office space and a hotel.

What are the company’s plans for 2006?

We’ve only been in Dubai for about two years, but we’ve already been very successful here so will be looking to continue that. We currently have investments in Dubai exceeding $545 billion. We’re also looking to explore new opportunities in places such as Qatar, Oman and Jordan.
Our core business in real estate development, but we’re also involved in development and project management, construction management, marketing management and financial management as well. This year we’ll be looking to strengthen our core business, as well as expand all our other operations.

In terms of project construction management, we manage not only Al Mazaya projects, but projects for other clients as well — we manage the process from the planning stage through to completion. Right now we’re project managing the construction for Dubai Healthcare City. We also handle the management for many of our own projects, including this latest Jumeirah Lakes Towers development. ||**||

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