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The Dh450-million Qasr Sabah opened its doors to residents in September, ahead of its schedule by almost three months. For Raj Sahni, Chairman of RSG International, the developer of the project, this is no mean feat. ''Commencing the handover of the residential units ahead of schedule is indeed a milestone for us as it underlines our commitment to excellence,'' he tells Property Weekly. ''It's not very often that developers hand over a project before time, which definitely makes this a unique event for the Dubai property market, thereby restoring confidence of property investors.''
Describing Qasr Sabah as a landmark project, Sahni says having a team that works on the same page was crucial in the project's success. ''We have the best team working on it,'' he says. ''We've not only developed the project before time, but also ensured that our team adheres strictly to quality practices for a fine finished product. Our apartments are equipped with best-in-class amenities and we are confident residents will have a great stay in their new homes.''
He says the support of the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (earlier known as Zoning Department) was also crucial in fast-tracking the completion of the project. ''Dubai Clusters Authority has always been an instrumental force in shaping projects in the UAE,'' he says. ''Their regulations for licensing and zoning are extremely business friendly, helping developers like us to translate our plans into action at a quick pace.''
Qasr Sabah was nearly sold out when it was launched in February last year. The competitive prices and flexible payment plan (20 per cent deposit and 80 per cent at handover), resulted in a huge demand from local and overseas buyers. ''During Ramadan last year, Qasr Sabah was the only project in the UAE that pioneered a post-handover payment plan for its investors, encompassing 60 per cent in three years after handover,'' says Sahni.
While easy payment plans usually target individual buyers, Sahni says the scheme also worked well for bulk buyers of Qasr Sabah. ''We wanted to make conditions favourable for all our investors, whether it was an individual buyer or a bulk investor,'' he says. ''Bulk purchase is beneficial for both investors and developers. Also, easy payment plans for bulk investors ensure that cash flow is unhindered, which proves valuable in the development of the project.''
RSG International has its foundation in a modest family business of Automotive Spare Parts. With its roots in Kuwait, RSG International now spans across the Middle East, the US and South Asia. A diligent and sensitive approach to selecting the right business at the right place has been the formula for the group's success.
Qasr Sabah has been funded solely by RSG International, and the company intends to follow the same formula for its future projects. ''The UAE is a great market and we have absolute confidence in the outstanding vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.''
Attention to detail
Convenient payment plans and attention to detail are the key elements that seem to have drawn bulk investors to invest in this massive project. ''To offer additional value and a world class experience to investors, and in keeping with the elegant façade, building interiors have been enhanced and revamped at the company's own expense,'' says Sahni. The architecture is an ap pealing blend of Mediterranean and Arabic elements. Intricate nature motifs, lines and curves painted in gold are a reflection of the rich architecture of these cultures, while the brilliant white façade symbolises freshness and peace.
Qasr Sabah is located in the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), close to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road and within easy reach of both Al Maktoum International Airport and Dubai International Airport. The new logistics hub, Dubai South (earlier known as Dubai World Central), the site of the World Expo 2020 and the biennial Dubai Air show, is only minutes away.
With three buildings comprising 402 apartments and four retail shops, the project is designed to be a self-contained community that blends work with family. Residents of Qasr Sabah have easy access to a number of social and leisure options, such as malls and restaurants in the vicinity.
Sahni says the potential return on investment of the project has also attracted many investors. ''[Major destinations] are only minutes away. In addition, Me'aisem City Centre brings a plethora of retail and entertainment outlets to the residents of IMPZ,'' says Sahni. ''Considering all these factors, investors will not only have great leasing and rental opportunities, but will also have an opportunity to witness gleaming resale prices.''
RSG International plans to keep the momentum going by launching 1,000-1,500 residential units every year. ''While Qasr Sabah was our pioneering project, our next project in Jumeirah Village Circle will be constructed with equal dedication and commitment to quality and delivery,'' says Sahni. ''The details on the upcoming project will be shared soon.
''We don't want to focus on any other place. I am used to the ease of operations that Dubai provides. The area around Dubai South, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai Sports City, Discovery Gardens and IMPZ, in my view, have a great future.''
RSG International will also be embarking on a hotel project at the end of this year, taking advantage of the Dubai government's policy of encouraging developers to build three- and four-star hotels. Master planners are offered land banks on a five year payment plan at rates that are 50 per cent cheaper.
Sahni isn't affected by the slowdown in property values, noting that Dubai's fundamentals are strong enough to make a gradual rebound.
''The tight government regulations have removed fake developers from the market,'' he says. ''In addition, the real estate and mortgage market has matured since the crisis. While people were outlandishly carefree during the slowdown, they are a lot more cautious now.
''The Expo will bring in ample opportunities for people looking to settle down in the UAE. All these well thought-out regulations, in combination with new projects in the pipeline, will lead to the property market flourishing in 2017.''
Source: N.P. Krishna Kumar, Special to Property Weekly