x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Long delayed Ivory Tower to go ahead

Construction on residential project in Dubai is expected to begin later this month ? more than three years after it was launched.

Construction on the Ivory Tower, a residential project in Dubai by Sokook Investment Group, is expected to begin later this month - more than three years after it was launched. A spokesperson at Sokook, a Saudi Arabian firm, said a contract had been awarded to Piling Tech, an Ajman-based company. "They are hoping to begin work in December, they are just waiting on the permit," said the ­spokesperson. But the news that construction will finally get under way has done little to convince investors in the project that the building will actually be completed, particularly in light of increasing project delays in Dubai resulting from the ongoing financial crisis. Investors had been expected to move into their new homes next year, but they have now been told completion will be sometime in 2011. Sokook has issued revised contracts to more than 700 investors and changed the original payment schedules. "The revised completion date of 2011, from 2009, will invariably not be met as nearly all projects are six to 24 months late in Dubai. By the time of delivery this project could be five years late," said one investor, who asked not to be named. "Our main concern is the financial well-being of Sokook and whether the project, even if started, actually sees itself through to completion day." Sokook originally asked buyers to pay 25 per cent of the property upfront and 75 per cent on ­completion. "Now they have changed my initial payment of 25 per cent to a 'booking fee' and are demanding 10 per cent for every three floors completed, from start of construction, which will leave me with just 5 per cent to pay on completion - imagine how that will play havoc with my finances," said the investor. He said that Sokook justified the change in payment schedule by saying the project would not otherwise go ahead. "No other feasible option is offered apart from us trying to sell our units in a market which has been deserted by buyers." Sokook claimed in June that the project, which sold for Dh650 per square foot in 2005, was disrupted because of a dispute over a bank guarantee with Tecom - the master developer of the International Media Production Zone, where Ivory Tower is to be located. The issue was resolved following the intervention of the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera). agiuffrida@thenational.ae