x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Investors go to court over stalled Reem Island project

Investors in the stalled Tameer Towers project will take legal action by the end of the month.

ABU DHABI // Investors in the stalled Tameer Towers development will go to court this month to try to reclaim the money they sank into the Reem Island project.

Legal action will be taken after the official completion date for the development passes.

More investors are expected to sign on before arbitration proceedings begin, said Thabit Al Temimi, a legal adviser with House of Justice, the Abu Dhabi legal firm representing investors.

"The number of investors is not finalised," Mr Al Temimi said, "but it is many."

The Dh7 billion Tameer Towers project was initially meant to include four buildings consisting of residential and commercial space as well as a five-star hotel.

The first of the homes were scheduled to be handed over this year, though a new timetable released last year set a revised date of early 2013.

The developer, Tameer Holding Investment, halted construction this year after the project's contractor failed to pay workers' salaries and laid off almost all the staff.

Investors say the many project delays and a lack of communication from Tameer have forced them to take action.

"I just don't know what else I can do," said one investor. "If there's a chance I can get a refund, I will take it."

This month Tameer announced it would restart construction on two of the site's buildings in the first quarter of next year with a completion date in the last quarter of 2013.

Mr Al Tamimi said his clients would wait until the end of December to file, because a clause in most contracts allowed Tameer to extend the June completion date by six months.

"Problems with the construction are not the fault of the purchaser," Mr Al Tamimi said. "They can't wait until past the completion date to even start building. Even if they start next year, they expect people to wait all this time?"

One investor said he planned to "wait and see" before taking any action.

"I want to see what happens with the arbitration and if they start building next year, as promised," he said.

Mr Al Tamimi said he was confident he could win the case for his clients, who number more than 65, although not all of them will participate in the arbitration.

By law, arbitration proceedings cannot extend longer than six months without both parties' consent.

"So by the middle of next year, we should see some resolution," Mr Al Tamimi said.

At least three court cases are pending against Tameer related to the Tameer Towers project.