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Damac breaks record with 82-storey tower

Ocean Heights at Dubai Marina sets new record for a residential building in Dubai

Damac Properties has launched the highest tower at Dubai Marina and possibly the highest residential tower in the United Arab Emirates (Issue 35). At just under 300 m, the 82 storey Ocean Heights will be only slightly lower than than Emirates Towers Hotel (309 m) and Emirates Towers office building (355 m). The building was initially announced to be 50-storeys (Issue 44/45). However, the Dubai Municipality has been awarding licenses for taller structures and the last to be announced was Marina Pinnacle by the Tiger Group, which is to be 71 storeys high.

At the announcement of the new project, Damac’s CEO said he expects the real estate market to soften in about a year and a half from now. However, he then expects it to bounce back on domestic demand. Damac claims to be the largest private sector real estate developer in the UAE. “Keeping with tradition worldwide, there will be cycles here and the market may drop by 15%. We have a very young freehold market in Dubai and it is less predictable than more mature markets. In about 18 months, there may be a softening,” Peter Riddoch, Damac’s chief executive officer, told Construction Week.

“At that time, local expatriates may see an opportunity to buy into completed developments at competitive prices. This will fuel another pick-up in the cycle. All in all, I see a slight slowdown over the next three to four years, but the market will not lose impetus,” the Damac CEO pointed out during the firm’s launch of its most ambitious project yet.

Both Ocean Heights and the Marina Pinnacle will be strategically located at the entrance area of Dubai Marina. Tiger Group officials say it will take about AED 800 million to build the 71-storey Marina Pinnacle, while Riddoch said it would take about AED 500 million to build the 82-storey Ocean Heights. All Damac projects are self-funded by the group.

Current total value of Damac projects is over AED 4 billion in 15 towers across various developments in Dubai. The company is also looking at investments outside the UAE and is in discussion over projects in Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. Piling work is underway at Ocean Heights, which has been designed by Hong Kong based architectural firm of Aedas. The local firm of National Engineering Bureau is doing the detailed designs. The main contractor is to be selected by this summer and the project will take two and half years to finish.

Asked about the incremental cost incurred by adding additional upper storeys, Riddoch explained that the extra costs are on vertical transportation and on MEP works such as additional pumping requirements. “There is only 15% pro rata increase per floor.” Ocean Heights has a total of 672 apartments consisting of one, two and three-bedroom units with prices starting from AED 1.1 million.

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