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When Damac Properties introduced its development Akoya by Damac in Dubai last year, it was seen as a comeback for the company, which had gone quiet during the real estate meltdown. And what a comeback it is — a luxurious community with villas, luxe apartments and a retail centre surrounding the Trump International Golf Club.
According to Damac, the property will eventually become the Beverly Hills of Dubai, with the Donald Trump-branded 18-hole golf course being a key highlight.
Hussain Sajwani, Executive Chairman and CEO of Damac Group, says the demand for luxury housing is on the rise. ''Dubai is a key market and demand for luxury property is robust, underlining its position as the region's primary business and tourist destination.
''We expect the emirate's strong economic policies, safe-haven status, improving business sentiment and increasing number of visitors to contribute to its growth. Customer demand for our luxury product remains high, and we strongly believe that the current real estate market in Dubai is sustainable, supported by a supply-demand imbalance for high end property.''
Last month, Damac launched Akoya Oxygen, a master development spread across 55 million sq ft in Dubailand. It is 30 per cent larger than Akoya by Damac and also features an 18-hole championship golf course.
The fully integrated community includes luxurious residential properties and retail and hospitality products such as a five-star hotel and luxury wellness centre. It will also be home to global retail brands, leisure and entertainment offerings and organic marketplaces, set within a manicured landscape.
Akoya Oxygen seems to have gone down well with buyers with the first bunch of units selling out in just under a day. Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice-President of Damac Properties, says investor confidence has improved considerably in the past year.
''After the price corrections in 2009 and early 2010, the market has stabilised, thanks to increased regulation by the Dubai Government. The real estate space today is much more stable and controlled, heading towards manageable growth and profits — without the boom-and-bust cycle. Investors are looking towards medium-and long-term goals,'' he says.
But Damac doesn't develop homes only. Its focus has widened to provide an all encompassing residential experience. Take, for instance, The Catwalk Akoya, an exclusive retail and leisure district at Akoya by Damac. Then there's The Drive Akoya, a luxurious 1.3-kilometre retail walk featuring premium restaurants and cafés, among other amenities — also in the same development.
''Damac Properties is committed to delivering a strong retail offering at each master development. We have no plans to develop malls at this stage, but we expect areas such as The Drive to be the new hangout for entertainment and to get away from it all. In fact, The Drive will become central for those living in Arabian Ranches, Motor City, Jumeirah Village and the surrounding areas,'' says McLoughlin.
Damac has ventured into hospitality as well, with an in-house team that manages the brand's growing portfolio of more than 10,000 serviced units in hotel apartments under the brands Damac Maison and Naia by Damac.
The company is also developing a $1-billion (Dh3.67 billion) luxury serviced residence in Downtown Dubai — Damac Towers by Paramount Hotels and Resort. It will be the first Paramount hotel and serviced residences in the region.
McLoughlin says, ''More than 1.2 million new residents will be living in Dubai in the next six years and they will all need accommodation. This is why the growth of Dubai's real estate market not only makes for an attractive medium to long-term investment proposition, but is also a fundamental requirement of a growing economy — especially for a city that is positioning itself to be the best in the world, in everything it does.
''Additionally, Dubai tourism is anticipated grow from a little more than 10 million last year, to hosting 25 million people for Expo 2020. So, there are many reasons to remain positive about the upward path of real estate.''
Is the current surge in real estate only an outcome of the Expo 2020 bid win? McLoughlin doesn't think so. ''The UAE is considered to be one of the most politically stable and secure countries in the region, and a safe haven for foreign investment,'' he says. ''It's also an important global hub for finance, transport and logistics, and a growing tourism centre.
''In the past few years, Dubai's economic environment has witnessed renewed confidence, with statistics [from Dubai Statistics Centre in June] showing GDP growth rate at 4.6 per cent last year — the fastest since 2007. Real estate, trade, tourism, aviation and retail are bouncing back, and the upswing is expected to continue, with the IMF forecasting economic growth at 4.5 per cent in coming years.
''The real estate market is seeing a resurge in investor sentiment. A growing population and steady rise in tourism, especially with Expo 2020 expected to attract around 20 million visitors to Dubai, also point towards growing demand for property in the emirate.''
What makes Akoya by Damac the Beverly Hills of Dubai?
Villas on the golf course
A selection of beautiful villas overlook the Trump International Golf Course. Tastefully designed and boasting fascinating views, these are leisure escapes that complement the spirit of golf and represent an above par experience in every sense.
These well-appointed residences in Akoya form a cluster of spectacular apartments on the fringes of the Trump International Golf Course and include luxurious serviced and unserviced studios, as well as one-, two-, three- and fourbedroom apartments.
The Downtown Akoya
Close to the world-class golf course, the hotel apartments are complemented by cafés, restaurants and leisure offerings. The Masters For those who live and breathe golf, go for a home within the four distinct clusters of The Masters villas, which lead to the spectacular golf course.
The Park Akoya
These residences, spread across 400,000 sq m of lush parks is a sanctuary.
Trump International Golf Club
The first of its kind in the Middle East and exclusively for golf enthusiasts, this 18-hole championship golf course is flanked by an expansive clubhouse boasting the best amenities.
The Catwalk Akoya
The retail precinct located in the heart of the district, you'll find fine dining restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, pharmacies and a host of other conveniences right at your doorstep.
The Trump Estates
These are about 100 luxurious mansions and villas within the Trump International Golf Club.
Damac Villas by Paramount Hotels and Resorts
A gated community of 160 serviced luxury villas. Fendi-styled villas Luxury and style come together in these 34 limited edition villas designed by Italian fashion house Fendi.
The Drive Akoya
A luxurious 1.3-kilometre promenade with premium retail outlets, restaurants, acres of greenery, children's entertainment areas and an outdoor cinema.
Click on Akoya and read more about the development which offers the epitome of elite living in Dubai
Source: Suhaib Abdullakutty, Special to Property Weekly