x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Reem buyers to move in by years' end

The very first freehold development to deliver properties in Abu Dhabi will be ready by December.

Property buyers will be able to move into their apartments on Al Reem Island by the end of this year, the very first freehold development to deliver properties in Abu Dhabi. Marina Square, a Dh6 billion 15-tower project which comprises 3,500 units, 90 per cent of which are residential, is one of the few areas where GCC citizens from outside Abu Dhabi are allowed to own properties. Other foreign investors are allowed to buy 99 year leases. "We will be ready for delivery by the end of the year," said Joe Ong, the chief executive of Tamouh, the Abu Dhabi based developer that is overseeing the project. The project also includes a 500-room hotel and a 60,000 sq metre mall, both of which are expected to be ready in a year. Marina Square will be the first of three phases that will eventually cover Al Reem Island. All the infrastructure is in place now, including roads, power, telecommunications, district cooling, central rubbish collection, everything from A to Z, said Mr Ong. Investors will need to pay their last 30 per cent instalment by the end of the year. Mr Ong did not deny facing difficulties with investors as a result to the downturn and asked them to be more reasonable with their reselling prices. "Investors should look at the long term and come back to what the market really is," he said. "It won't turn back to what it was in mid-2008. A reasonable price today on Marina Square is below Dh1300-1500 per sq ft of property if it is delivered by the next one year. Nothing should be above Dh1800." City of Lights, the second Tamouh development on Al Reem, will be delivered by 2011. "More than Dh5bn-worth contracts has been awarded so far for the construction about 16 out of 39 buildings," said Mr Joe. "These towers are above ground now and have been all sold out." According to Mr Ong, the price per sq ft in City of Lights should be about Dh1150. "[Investors] are now playing hard to get. They are in a crisis and we needed to help most of our investors substantially, he said. "But we are more focused on delivery. Whether they pay or don't pay we are continuing. Marina Square is at no debt and we still have money in the banks to pay contractors." Prices on the secondary market ? the resale of off-plan properties ? increased to Dh1950 per square foot and exceeded Dh2500 in certain areas. Sorouh Real Estate, which is developing 25 per cent of Al Reem, was forced recently to cut prices by 20 per cent on Gate towers. Mr Ong estimated the discounting price rate of investors to end-users at about 15 per cent. Sorouh Real Estate, the second-largest property developer in Abu Dhabi, will began offering average price cuts of 20 per cent and easier payment plans to buyers of units in the Gate Towers. Tamouh will launch the third phase next year, rebranded Abu Dhabi Downtown. "We expect the official launch of the downtown by the first quarter of next year. Tamouh is planning on delivering 11,000 to 15,000 units in the next five years. ngillet@thenational.ae