Dubai’s developers believe in the power of ‘One’

Dubai: “One” sure has a talismanic hold over Dubai’s developers. And the latest one — pun unintended — is the imposing “1/JBR” from Dubai Properties and which will occupy the most prime location within the Jumeirah Beach Residences cluster of high-rises.

But 1/JBR plans to rise way above its peers, literally and figuratively. The 150-odd units (featuring two- to four-bedrooms) are “not for anybody — we are quite clear about that,” said Abdullatif Al Mulla, Group CEO at Dubai Properties Group. “The look and feel will be completely different from anything that’s been done before.

“We are finalising the last details regarding the prices and will be ready to launch soon. 1/JBR will be marketed extensively in select overseas markets too.”

Sales will be done in phases, which will also give flexibility to the developer on grading the prices. The project is set for completion in 2019.

The skyscraper-in-the-making’s first designs sure are impressive. By limiting the number of units, the developer — and the architect — will have the canvas to pack in quite a bit, with features such as optional private pools at some of the apartments. The top two levels will be given over to penthouses.

Cyclical adjustments

On whether the state of the market — with demand decidedly down for high-end offerings — was even considered, AlMulla said: “We are not a tactical developer which builds small projects and then get out. We are not competing with one or two projects — our developments are strategic and 1/JBR is in sync with achieving that. And we see in Dubai’s property market now is normal cyclical adjustments.”

The buzz over 1/JBR has already started in the market — “If the price on this particular project is at Dh2,300-Dh2,400 per square foot, it will justify the location since it is a beachfront property with a view that will be unrivalled,” said Ranjeet Chavan, Director at SPF Realty.

According to him, the softening of values and demand at Dubai Marina and JBR are more in the nature of the market adjusting than a decline as such. “The fact is that prices were slightly inflated because of the perceived demand on the [existing] properties, which needed an adjustment given the additional supply that gets on being added in view of the completion of some new projects,” said Chavan.

“Customers have a bit more in terms of options as compared to, say, 12 to 18 months ago. Obviously sellers [in the secondary market] have been adjusting their asking prices accordingly. The [current decline in values] is simply a demand and supply situation rather than any other reason.”

D1 tower

One of the original super skyscrapers launched in Dubai, the D1 in Culture Village is currently in handover mode, with the first residents already taking up abode. The tower packs in 500 plus upscale apartments across its 80 storeys (excluding the ground floor).

“We are still holding an inventory of around 5 per cent of the units and will decide when to release them for sale later,” said Raza Jaffar, CEO of Enshaa, the developer which also has the Palazzo Versace hotel and apartments at the same location. “Right now, our focus is to ensure investors are happy on taking delivery and later on we can consider launching a brand new project. Our preference when we get to that point would still be the Culture Village.”

From a project perspective, the 284-metre D1 has been through the ebbs and flows of market cycles. When first announced, it took Dubai’s then nascent high-rise development culture to an untested location. More so, as other developers were busy launching at Dubai Marina and JLT.

That it was part of a project that also carried the Versace tag ensured that there wasn’t any shortage of limelight shining on it. Then came the global financial crisis, and the project had to go through all the tribulations associated with it.

“[Secondary market] prices are in the Dh1,700-Dh1,800 a square foot range, but the water-facing apartments carry a Dh2,000 a square foot tag,” said Jaffar. “The Versace apartments going rates are in the Dh3,500-Dh4,000 band.

One at Palm Jumeirah

For Omniyat Properties, it’s as if the slowdown in the realty market is playing out in another universe altogether. In the Omniyat universe, $5 million to $10 million (Dh18.4 million to D36.7 million) plus properties at its One at Palm Jumeirah — occupying a prime spot on the trunk — continues to sell.

“We’ve had three units getting confirmations during Cityscape — clearly if as a developer you keep the focus strictly on creating ultra-premium projects, there are buyers who will keep responding,” said Mehdi Amjad, Executive Chairman and CEO.

Clearly, it’s paying off as Omniyat — which is building in a joint venture with Drake & Scull — has taken in multiple offers for the sole penthouse at One at Palm Jumeirah. The listed price tag is Dh200 million, making it Dubai’s costliest apartment by many a mile.

“I will not get into details of how many have expressed interest — we will choose one who in our opinion is ideal for the address that we will create. The interiors and all other details will be done in tandem with the eventual owner.”

On whether if someone came along offering a price over and above the listed price for the penthouse would be entertained, Amjad’s response was a succinct: “Wouldn’t you?)

Meydan One & Dubai One Tower

The power play with the “One” tag has taken on an altogether different meaning. Meydan, the master-developer, will not be focused on just a single property for the recently announced Meydan One.

Indeed, the fact that the project will play host to the world’s tallest stand-alone residential skyscraper — the 161-storey and 711 metre high Dubai One — is incidental. Meydan One is definitely not a sole component — the parts that will make it up add up to a quite substantial whole.

It cannot be otherwise with elements such as the world’s longest indoor ski slope, 1.2 kilometres of it. Throw in the world’s largest fountains (420x100 square metres) and indoor gym (25,000 metres), one realises that space is definitely not a scarce commodity for Meydan One.

“The vision of Meydan One has been endorsed and what we are working on are the different parcels and heights within the many zones,” said Mohammad Al Khayat, Vice-President - Commercial and Free Zone at Meydan Group.

“Phase 1, for instance, will be related to the mall and the main infrastructure surrounding it, the ski slope, etc.

“The masterplan is in the final process of detailing - this one obviously has the mall component that’s been added. But the endorsement that’s been received, it means all the individual zones have been confirmed.”

The various zones will be made up of the mall and related leisure and entertainment destinations, a second zone for mid- and high-rises, another featuring low-rises, another related to effecting connectivity, infrastructure, etc.

There will be two water bodies within the wider development - one on the front side of the mall and featuring the canal and a marina, and one at the back of the development.

On what the development are for Dubai One, Al Khayat said: “We have set a height target of 711 metres and awaiting approval from Dubai Civil Aviation for confirming what the eventual height will be. That will move Dubai One from concept stage into project mode.”


It may only be all of 14 floors, but One JLT is out to hold its own as the place where blue-chip businesses want to be as tenants. The property is open in November, with 27,000 square metres of leasable space.

“These are for tenants looking at large floor plates and we had quite an easy time generating interest during pre-leasing phase itself,” said Krysta Fox, Director of Free Zone at DMCC. “All of the ground-floor retail is already gone.”

Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor,


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