x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Jumeirah Golf Estates villas are built, but still empty

Buyers are waiting for paved roads and utility services to reach their homes, some more than a year after their plots were completed.

Many owners of villas lining Jumeirah Golf Estates' the Earth course have been left in limbo as they await connection of utility services.
Many owners of villas lining Jumeirah Golf Estates' the Earth course have been left in limbo as they await connection of utility services.

More than a year after construction was completed on Douglas Collins's villa in the Jumeirah Golf Estates, there is still no electricity, water or sewerage service to the house.

"It's just sitting there," said Mr Collins, who has been waiting 14 months for the services to be connected.

He is among dozens of buyers in the development still waiting for paved roads and utility services to reach their completed homes.

Their properties are part of Lime Tree Valley, a collection of 121 villas along the Earth course, which hosted the Dubai World Championship last month.

The homeowners are in limbo, unable to move into their finished villas, which they spent millions of dirhams to buy.

"We're very disappointed," said Sarah Lywood, one of the homeowners.

Her villa was finished early this year.

"We're just waiting," she said.

The master developer responsible for the infrastructure on the project is Nakheel, a subsidiary of Dubai World which is controlled by the Government.

Nakheel has spent much of the past year working to restructure US$10.5 billion (Dh38.56bn) of debt.

Construction on the infrastructure is now expected to start in "early 2011", a Nakheel spokeswoman said.

"After receiving the necessary support from the Government of Dubai, Nakheel will manage the completion of Jumeirah Golf Estates' development and is in the final stages of assessment of construction completion requirements," the spokeswoman said.

But frustrated homeowners say that for several months they have been hearing assurances about work on the roads and other infrastructure.

CHI Development Group, which built the villas, announced in October that construction of all 121 villas had been completed.

At the time, CHI said it hoped Nakheel would start the infrastructure work in the autumn and that homes might be turned over by spring next year.

"We're doing everything we can in our discussions with Nakheel to come up with timelines for delivery," said Roger Wakeham, the director of development for CHI, which declined further comment.

Buyers in the development typically paid 70 to 95 per cent of the Dh7 million to Dh8m purchase price for their villas, which range from 4,200 to 7,000 square feet.

"It's a lot of cash to be tied up," said one homeowner, who asked not to be named. He said he had paid Dh7.1m for his six-bedroom villa, which was completed last year.

The homeowner said he had expected to live in the home but was forced to buy another house. "I changed plans because I didn't feel the property would be delivered," he said.

Mr Collins bought his villa in 2007 and has paid about Dh7m - 95 per cent of the price.

When construction was completed, he and his wife installed a custom kitchen and floors.

They also bought furniture in anticipation of moving in.

Instead, they and their new son are living in a rented apartment in Dubai Marina. He is also paying off a mortgage on the Jumeirah Golf Estates property.

"It's been quite disastrous overall," Mr Collins said.

Now it appears that it will be next summer at the earliest before his family will be able to move in.

 

kbrass@thenational.ae