x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Omniyat hands over first tower in Business Bay

Developer starts leasing as brokers say the project has been dogged with problems.

The Omniyat Properties building, at Business Bay area.
The Omniyat Properties building, at Business Bay area.

Omniyat Properties, the developer based in Dubai, has handed over the Bayswater tower, the first office building of the Dh110 billion (US$29.95bn) Business Bay development next to Downtown Burj Dubai. Omniyat is Dubai's first developer to start leasing in an area set to have more than 200 buildings, mainly offices, and a population of 191,000 people, according to the master developer Dubai Properties.

Omniyat has launched seven projects in the area and said it would hand over the second tower, One Business Bay, in six weeks. The development has had infrastructure problems such as a lack of roads and power supply glitches, according to real estate brokers. But Dubai Properties was unwilling to discuss those issues yesterday. Several towers have been completed but could not be delivered, agents said. Dubai Properties is ready to hand over a third tower, Tower D, which is one of the Executive Towers. And Deyaar's Citadel tower is ready but also waiting for connection.

"Business Bay is an incredibly important development for the Dubai office market but it continues to suffer from delivery problems linked to infrastructure including water, power, sewage and electricity," said David Macadam, the director of the commercial department at Better Homes. "That really impacted negatively on the area. None of our clients were able to occupy the areas." One broker who did not wish to be named said the Business Bay offices started trading at between Dh1,000 and Dh1,200 per square foot (sq ft) and went to a peak of between about Dh2,100 and Dh2,200 per sq ft.

"In November to December, things dropped dramatically," the broker said. "The sales were transacting at Dh1,100 to 1,200 for ready, or nearly ready properties." Omniyat said the new building would be powered by generators but should soon be connected to the official grid. "We know that developments in Business Bay have been held up because of the power issue," said Lloyd Budd, the commercial director of Omniyat.

"We have provided temporary solutions for power and will run generators on site, but we have received the approval from DEWA to be on substation one, which is located opposite to Bayswater. We expect permanent connection to power by September or October." Mr Budd said there would be no extra cost. The Bayswater tower has 24 storeys with 293 offices and 11 stores. The developer has sold the entire building except two units, which will be leased.

The building will offer a range of technologically innovative features, including a monumental interactive screen in the lobby and keys in the form of cards with biometric readers. "A lot of businesses plan to be operating from the tower when they come back from the Ramadan holidays at the end of September," said Mr Budd. ngillet@thenational.ae