ABU DHABI // A luxury marine developer in Dubai is confident of navigating the choppy seas of the global economic slowdown by offering an online auction of state-of-the-art berths at Anchor Marina, on Dubai's Palm Jumeriah. Island Global Yachting (IGY) believes it can persuade some of the world's biggest spenders to splash out as much as Dh600,000 (US$163,000) to moor their yachts at the ultimate seashore address.
Michael Horrigan, the chief executive at IGY for the Middle East and Europe, hopes the auction will generate the same sort of interest and telephone-figure bids that saw a number plate go for $15 million in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. "We know that demand for Anchor Marina will be high so we decided to explore new ways of leasing its berths to ensure a level playing field for interested parties - and the idea of an online auction site developed," said Mr Horrigan. "We are anticipating a huge demand for the berths and this has been considered the most transparent and fair way of launching the first tier of leases."
IGY would not reveal if it had a reserve price for the berths, or how much it expected to make from the online sale. The initial starting prices of the berths will depend on size and are yet to be disclosed. However, prices are expected to be more expensive than Dubai Marina, where there are no more berths available for lease and there is a waiting list of more than a year. To lease a berth at Dubai Marina, you must first be a member of the yacht club - membership costs Dh24,000 for the initiation fee and an additional Dh24,000 annually. The smallest berth, which spans eight metres, costs Dh19,000 a year to lease, while the largest is 35 metres and costs Dh126,000 a year - the equivalent of renting a luxury one-bedroom apartment at Jumeriah Beach Residence.
Anchor Marina is scheduled to open in December and berths will be leased only to owners and residents of Palm Jumeriah. Since many property owners of the Palm Jumeriah live overseas, the website would allow them to comfortably take part in the week-long "frenzy", IGY said, adding that owners and residents would be limited to leasing one berth per property owner and leases would run for five years.
John Cardona, the director of marketing for IGY, said the company was confident of filling all the berths by the end of next year. "The demand for berths in Dubai is extremely high, while the supply is small," said Chris Turquan, a yacht broker at Bimini Brokers. "It is difficult for many boat owners to find a place for their boats, especially for large boats spanning 20 to 30 metres, where demand is especially high."
Anchor Marina has 590 berths for private yachts, measuring 10 metres to 30 metres in length. The developer has included modern elements such as spacious concrete pontoons and some of the most modern technology available to boat owners, including LED illumination, underwater lighting, wireless internet connections and concierge services. Property owners on Palm Jumeriah have been banned from sub-leasing their berths for extra cash and will be required to adhere to guidelines and collaborate with an IGY broker.
Prospective bidders can register at www.igyauctions.com from Oct 15. The auction will take place from Nov 1 to 7. firstname.lastname@example.org