Nakheel will this month start the first major handover of apartments on Palm Jumeirah nearly a year after several high profile projects on the island came to a standstill following the property industry crash. Apartment owners on the six-tower Marina Residences will be able to move into their new homes by the end of this month. But construction on Gateway Towers, Trump International Tower and Hotel and Frond N villas, which was suspended last November because of the economic slump, has been delayed indefinitely and will be reviewed when market conditions improve, said Marwan al Qamzi, group managing director of Nakheel development projects.
He added that almost all of the 980 apartments at Marina Residences, which started selling in 2007, when the market was largely ruled by speculators, have been sold. Despite the timing of the sales, the project has been relatively unaffected by delinquent buyers. "In this particular project, the default rate is limited," said Mr al Qamzi. A marina, which is being overseen by Nakheel subsidiary, Nakheel Leisure, has been built alongside the project and will start operating in a couple of months.
Property prices on Palm Jumeirah, which fell by as much as 40 per cent from their September 2008 peak, have also started to stabilise, with the number of transactions picking up in certain areas of the island, added Mr al Qamzi. Property brokers have said that prices have risen by up to 20 per cent since a "low point" in March. "The transactions we see on a daily basis on Palm Jumeirah are very healthy and encouraging, it's bringing confidence to the market," said Mr al Qamzi.
Palm Jumeirah, which also includes the Atlantis Hotel, was launched in 2001, with the first homebuyers moving onto the island in early 2007. The Marina Residences are located close to a site that had been earmarked for the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2, which was bought by a sister company of Nakheel for $100 million (Dh367m) in June 2007. But Marina tenants hoping for a view of the world-famous liner from their balconies, will be disappointed.
Nakheel had planned for the 41-year-old vessel to become a floating hotel with 200 rooms, restaurants and a theatre. But Dubai World, the parent company of Nakheel, is now considering locations where the ship could be temporarily moored as a stationary hotel, while the company seeks to cut costs. One of the locations being considered is Cape Town in South Africa. A spokesperson for South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism said earlier this year that her agency would not oppose a possible 18-month berthing at Cape Town harbour.
Mr al Qamzi said a decision on the QE2 had not yet been made. "We are evaluating different options for the QE2," he said. email@example.com