A disgruntled buyer in one of the Dubai International Financial Centre's tallest buildings is suing Union Properties.
Dr David Dorsey claims the developer misrepresented the quality of the project and breached a promise to provide a swimming pool and health club.
The suit filed in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Court also charges the developer with misleading investors on construction progress in The Index, the 80-storey tower designed by Foster + Partners.
Dr Dorsey, a medical doctor who works as a portfolio manager, is seeking the return of Dh3.4 million (US$925,674) he paid for the apartment and more than Dh3m in damages.
Union Properties representatives could not be reached for comment.
The case could have ramifications for hundreds of investors with similar complaints. The DIFC Court, which is governed by its own set of civil and commercial laws, provides an avenue unavailable for buyers in projects outside the financial centre to pursue cases.
"The whole point of the DIFC is it offers the protection of international legal standards," Dr Dorsey said.
He bought a two-bedroom apartment in The Index tower in 2007.
But the company never followed through on a series of promises, including a commitment to provide a detailed sales and purchase agreement (SPA), his suit claims.
The SPA was necessary to "give us the ability to guard our rights", Dr Dorsey said. "All we had was a one-page reservation form for three years." Union Properties did not offer a detailed SPA until July last year and included many clauses "unilaterally advantageous" to the developer, the suit claims. The language addressed such issues as liability, force majeure and penalties not in the original agreement, the suit claims.
Dr Dorsey refused to sign it.
The claimed failure to deliver the swimming pool and gymnasium is a key point of contention, he said.
"I made it very clear that I had to have a gymnasium and pool," said Dr Dorsey, who has had back surgery and is undergoing regular therapy. "It was an absolute requirement."
The developer is charging buyers to complete the facilities, the suit alleges.
Union Properties started handing over apartments in The Index, a centrepiece of the DIFC, in January.
Dr Dorsey took out a mortgage to buy the property and the final instalment of 35 per cent has been paid. But he is refusing to take possession of the apartment.
The completed project did not live up to the standards of a Foster + Partners project, Dr Dorsey argues. The tiling, doors, floors and appliances are all sub-par, he claims,
"They didn't deliver Foster + Partners quality," he said.