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Bahraini investment bank builds homes in Dubailand

First Islamic Investment Bank signs up with Dubai Sports City to develop US $500 million Victory Heights

A leading Bahrain-based investment bank, First Islamic Investment Bank, has announced a joint venture with Dubai Sports City, for the creation of Victory Heights, a US $500 million themed golf residential community project in Dubai. Financial giant HSBC has agreed to fully underwrite the financing facility, said the Bahraini bank.

Victory Heights will be developed on 2.5 million m2 of land located in the Dubai Sports City project within the $5.7 billion Dubailand, the region’s biggest leisure, tourism and entertainment complex.

Developed around an 18-hole championship golf course to be designed by top ranked golfer Ernie Els in association with Nicklaus Design, Victory Heights will complement the Middle East’s first dedicated recreational and commercial sporting city’s wide array of stadiums, training academies and other sporting facilities.

East West Partners, a leading developer of award winning themed residential communities in the USA, will develop the community.

The firm has completed over 30 similar projects. Acting as master developer, East West Partners will set the theme and devise the development strategy in conjunction with leading international consultants.

“We are particularly pleased to announce this project as it represents one of First Islamic’s initial investment transactions in the Middle East. The development of the first privately-funded residential community in Dubai underscores First Islamic’s commitment to creating unique investment opportunities. Ever-increasing demand for lifestyle-oriented communities, coupled with the strong performance of Dubai’s real estate market, makes this a compelling transaction,” said Atif A. Abdulmalik, First Islamic CEO.

Khalid Al Zarooni, president Dubai Sports City, said: “This project embodies the unique vision and concept required to create a one of a kind residential and recreational community.”

Victory Heights seeks to offer a comprehensive gated neighborhood with high quality residential units. The community will be differentiated by its specialised recreational focus encompassing the broadest range of sporting and leisure amenities such as a country club with branded health and fitness centres, world-class swimming facilities, tennis complexes operated by renowned David Lloyd and a branded Butch Harmon golf academy, the first outside North America. Victory Heights’ potential residents will also have access to Dubai Sports City’s other international sporting academies such as Manchester United Soccer School and the International Cricket Academy.

“Our real estate investment philosophy of partnering with best-of-breed operators and developers has served us well in the USA and in Europe and we are following this strategy by partnering with an award winning developer to introduce an award winning concept to the Gulf,” said Asim Zafar, executive director in charge of real estate and asset-based investments at First Islamic.

Launch of Victory Heights’ to potential homebuyers is expected prior to the end of 2004.

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