Construction work on a futuristic glass apartment block in Abu Dhabi could restart after the stalled Sky Gardens Tower was sold by its Lebanese owner.
The Abu Dhabi-based General Housing Company for Investment & Development (GHC), a unit of Beirut-based developer Karam Holdings, said it would restart the tower in the Marina area of Reem Island after it acquired the project from the Lebanon-based Plus Properties.
GHC said that completing the modular apartment block originally announced at Cityscape Dubai in 2007 would save buyers who had already committed to the Sky Gardens Tower.
"We are pleased with this acquisition due to our trust in the UAE real estate market, which we estimate will improve in the coming period," said Nabil Karam, the general manager of GHC.
Mr Karam added he wished "to reassure unit purchasers that GHC will proceed expeditiously with the development of the Sky Gardens Tower", and that "a firm timeline will be set and announced to all unit purchasers once all the necessary licences for the development are either obtained or renewed".
According to a company spokeswoman, 157 of the 271 off-plan flats have been sold.
The project was originally proposed by Plus Properties, which was set up by Georges Chehwane, the chairman of Group Plus Media. GPM has a heavy advertising presence in Dubai.
The Reem tower was designed by James Law, a Hong Kong-based architect, through his Cybertecture practice. He said he aimed to create self-sustaining residential zones within each segment of the building.
In 2008 Plus Properties signed a Dh400 million (US$108.9m) contract with Taahud General Contracting for the construction of the scheme and began enabling and piling work. However, construction stalled as the global financial crisis hit.
Reem Island has been one of the areas of Abu Dhabi hardest hit by the global financial crisis. The island has been masterplanned by the developers Sorouh, Tamouh and Reem Investments to contain at least 22,000 homes as well as offices, shops, schools and other facilities.
However, land was sold to developers and investors, many of whom were hit by the financial crisis and forced to stop building work.
Many investors who put down deposits for off-plan flats on the island remain out of pocket.
But with some of the first developments on the island such as Sorouh's Sun & Sky Towers, Tamouh's Marina Square, Dhafir Development's Amaya Towers and Damac's Marina Bay now completed and occupied, property brokers in the capital are reporting signs of rent increases.
More projects are starting to come forward on Reem this year.
These include Sorouh's 3,500-apartment Gate Towers in Shams that is set to complete by the end of the third quarter. Chun Wo's 48-apartment Reem Diamond and Luxury Real Estate's Mangrove Placeare scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.
According to a February report by the property broker Cluttons, rents on Reem Island rose 10 per cent in the second half of last year, while those in older areas of the capital fell by 10 per cent over the same period.