Abu Dhabi-listed Eshraq Properties plans to restart work on two major schemes in Abu Dhabi this year.
The property developer, which floated on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in 2011, said it planned to start work on The Gateway mixed-use scheme of 15 towers and two blocks of serviced apartments on Abu Dhabi island and up to 500 flats on Reem Island in the last quarter.
Eshraq, which recorded losses every quarter since its listing and reported them for last year of Dh1.2 million (US$327,000) said it was pressing ahead with the projects in the capital because the Abu Dhabi market was beginning to stabilise.
"We feel it is the right time to build," said Abdul Fattah Al Barghouthi, the investment manager at Eshraq, on the sidelines of the Cityscape Abu Dhabi property show. "The market is stable and we can see indications that demand is coming back."
Mr Al Barghouthi pointed to Eshraq's delayed The Gateway scheme, which is located between the Sheikh Zayed Bridge and the Maqta Bridge next to the new cultural heritage souq announced this week by Abu Dhabi Municipality.
The Gateway project, originally intended to be built in 2009, would cost Dh1 billion to develop, Eshraq said. It is likely to include about 1 million square feet of developed area in towers ranging between 15 and 18 storeys. All of the apartments would be leased to tenants rather than sold.
However, Mr Al Barghouthi added that the company is waiting for final approvals from the Department of Transport before finalising its designs.
"We are receiving many offers [to provide development finance] from not only banks but from investors who are ready to inject cash," he said. "There are investors who would like to put money into our schemes as a sort of joint venture but it's still in negotiation."
Eshraq originally owned 21 plots of land on Reem Island but sold 17 of them to subdevelopers before the financial crisis hit.
The company plans to start work on up to 500 apartments on the island by the end of the year, building either one or two residential towers of 250 apartments each. Each Marina Rise tower will cost about Dh250m to build, Mr Al Barghouthi added.
"From an engineering point of view, from a design point of view, everything is ready to start development," he said. "But the decision of whether to go with two towers together or start with the first one and see what is the reaction, it's another call. We are not sure whether the market will help us to sell out the two towers. But if we see good demand with the first one then we might go ahead and kick off the second one too."
The company is also planning to start work on the first phase of its Jumeirah Rise project of two blocks of apartments and a hotel in Dubai in the third quarter of the year. In total, the scheme will cost Dh250m to develop.