x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arabtec hired to begin work on La Hoya Bay

Khoie to start on RAK project just months after chief is freed.

Khoie Properties has signed a contract with Arabtec Construction valued at Dh2.5 billion (US$680.6 million) to build its long-delayed La Hoya Bay project in Ras al Khaimah just months after its chief executive was released from prison. Arabtec said the development would be built over more than four years with the first phase worth Dh900m starting "immediately, as finance for the project is being finalised."

La Hoya Bay is to be located on the man-made Al Marjan Island and will comprise seven residential towers and more than 1,400 apartments as well as offices, shops, serviced apartments and a hotel. The news that Khoie Properties is pushing ahead with La Hoya Bay comes less than three months after Frank Khoie was released from prison after being sentenced in June last year to a three-year term. He was released in May.

Mr Khoie was sent to jail because a Dh57m cheque written to the Ras al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) bounced, leaving about 800 property buyers, most of them from the UK, in the dark. He said in a statement he was "very happy to reach this agreement with Arabtec Construction for building this prestigious project in Ras al Khaimah". Neil Pattison, a UK investor who has paid 50 per cent towards a home in La Hoya Bay that was valued at Dh2m when he bought it in 2007, said at least 170 buyers had tried to get a refund on their investments.

"I think people are just a bit wary about the project being delivered," he said. "The onus is now on him to build it ? If he has the funding, then he needs to get on with it." Mr Khoie was unavailable for comment yesterday. Khoie Properties has already received almost Dh300m in down payments from investors in La Hoya Bay and initially procured six plots of land from RAKIA at a total cost of about Dh300m, The National reported in December last year.

At the time, Mr Khoie said in an interview from prison his financial difficulties arose after the bank refused a Dh950m construction loan because there was no electricity supply from the public grid to the site. "Our company is not bankrupt," he said at the time. "We have Dh500m in assets. Ownership is mine. It is my project. I created it." agiuffrida@thenational.ae