$3bn Al Habtoor City to come up in Dubai
Dubai, October 7, 2013
Family-owned Dubai conglomerate Al Habtoor Group said on Monday that it was launching a $3 billion real estate development in the emirate that would include 3,000 hotel and residential units as well as a water-themed theatre.
The group, whose operations span the hospitality, construction, education and automotive sectors, said it expected about 20,000 people would visit Al Habtoor City every day.
Chairman Khalaf Al Habtoor told reporters that the group would use its own resources to finance the project, which would be completed by 2016.
"We are capable of financing this. But if banks are interested, then we are happy to talk to them."
Developers in Dubai are back to announcing mega-projects as the emirate recovers from its 2009-2010 debt crisis. Dubai firms have announced projects worth nearly $40 billion in the first half of 2013, according to some estimates by local media, including plans to construct the world's largest Ferris Wheel and billion-dollar theme parks.
The Habtoor development would run alongside Dubai's newly announced canal; the emirate's government said last week that it would spend $545 million on building a canal through its downtown area.
The return of a bullish mood to the real estate market has caused home prices in the emirate to surge over 22 percent in the past year, consultants Jones Lang LaSalle said in a report last week, raising concerns about an overheating of the market.
Al Habtoor, which has a stake in a joint-venture construction firm with Australia's Leighton Group , shelved plans to raise as much as $1.6 billion in an initial public offer of shares last year.
The chairman said on Monday that the company had no intention of reviving the IPO plan this year.
Its new development will have three residential tower blocks incorporating 1,460 luxury apartments, and three hotels to be operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, he said. It will have 11 penthouses including two VIP penthouses with private garden terraces, a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi.
"We don't have plans to sell the VIP penthouses, but if we did put them on the market, we would not sell them for less than $250 million each," Khalaf Al Habtoor said in a press statement.
The water-based theatre will bring "a touch of Las Vegas to Dubai", the statement added.
The chairman dismissed talk of another property bubble developing in Dubai.
"We can't control speculators. The government can't do much about gamblers," he said.
Al Habtoor said the city will be a new landmark for Dubai. “The UAE continues to grow because of our leader and citizens jointly working together. Today, I am here to renew my vote of confidence in Dubai and its economy and to celebrate our success. But it is not just a success for the Al Habtoor Group, but the success of my country. Each and every one of us plays a vital role in the UAE’s success.”
He added: “I want to say that our project will prove that Dubai is the only place in the world to invest. Al Habtoor City is truly a breathtaking project. It will help boost the economy, provide thousands of jobs and will set a benchmark for future projects of its kind.”
The group has commissioned leading British architects WS Atkins for the development of the residential blocks. It has also appointed Knight Frank to provide retail consultancy expertise for the podium under the residential towers and Asteco Real Estate Services will manage and lease the towers and retail outlets.
The main features of the residential towers include: two 74-floor residential blocks; one 40-floor residential tower; up to 1,460 apartments, ranging from one to seven bedrooms; 11 penthouses, two of which will be VIP/presidential-style penthouses; and multiple swimming pools.
The two VIP penthouses, on levels 72 to 74, will have seven bedrooms including an opulent master bedroom, garden terraces complete with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi. The two top floors will provide residents with a private entertainment area offering them a pre-function room leading to a 584 sq m open-plan sky lounge completely surrounded by glass - and offering a 360 degree view of Dubai.
Residents of the VIP penthouses will be ensured exclusivity. Special access cards will grant them priority use of the residents’ lift, which will not stop at any other floor while carrying a VIP resident. The lift will take them to their front door in under 30 seconds from the ground level.
The two VIP/Presidential-style penthouses will be über-stylish, fitted to the highest standards, with the most exclusive finishing materials from some of the world’s top brands. - Reuters and TradeArabia News Service