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Dubai: There is one developer who goes about launching new projects, releasing units and filling the properties without any matching fanfare. It is a script that has served wasl — which oversees a substantial portfolio of properties available on lease in Dubai — quite well.
Look at the numbers — there are 21 projects under development, its staff deal with nearly 48,000 clients each day and its projects run at high occupancy levels, of even 99 per cent. In terms of the project location, these are split between the older and new parts of the city.
“Emerging trends [in the local realty market] are location driven,” said Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group, which was set up to manage Dubai Real Estate Corporation’s portfolio. “Wasl caters largely to white-collar workers who are looking for high quality recreational outlets to form part of their housing requirements.
“These facilities are a major incentive for tenants; there is also growing demand for retail and food outlets within communities, with the trend being towards more stylish lifestyle options. The company is developing a number of projects, the majority of which include shopping magnets that will provide the community with premium grade amenities.
“The more recent developments — vita, trio and district — already incorporate such facilities as part of the company’s mixed-use policy. Where existing residential developments lack these, [e.g., Samari], wasl is busy adding units to enable it to fully cater to the neighbourhoods.”
The company is evaluating some freehold plots before moving into the launch phase. Its association with Dubai Real Estate Corporation offers it access to a substantial land bank in all of the prime areas of Dubai. But all of its funding requirements are met on its own.
“We apply systematic and stringent processes when utilising this land — due diligence procedures include conducting yield management studies, performing market analysis and developing concept design,” said Al Qassim. “Since inception, in 2008, the business model has been to provide the very best in build-to-lease residential apartments, villas, furnished accommodation and commercial and retail space.
“Wasl’s overall objective is to reurbanise and upgrade the older areas of Dubai, characterising them with accommodation and services that offer modern living in an authentic, heritage-based environment.”
wasl square: Located on Al Wasl Road is wasl’s flagship residential and retail development. Completed in 2012, occupancy has touched 100 per cent for all units. One-bedroom apartments range from 865—1,127 square foot, with two-bedrooms from 1,166—2,112 square foot.
wasl trio: Located in the Al Muraqqabat area of Deira, it comprises three buildings. The first is a mixed-use facility with studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and a commercial area of more than 8,000 square feet for retail outlets. The second building is a 210-room Hyatt Place with 133 furnished apartments, and the third is exclusively for residential apartments.
wasl vita: A mixed-use project also located on Al Wasl Road. With a total land area of 155,839 square feet, it is expected to be completed in Q4-2014. There will be 25 one-bedroom apartments, 33 two-bedroom and six three-bedroom apartments. The retail element will cover 76,475 square feet spread across 50 plus outlets.
dar wasl: Also on Al Wasl Road, dar wasl is a collection of residential — 112 apartments and 166 villas — and retail units covering an area of 693,171 square feet. It is due to be completed in August 2015.
wasl district: Located in Deira, the Dh1.2 billion mixed-use facility has a traditionally-styled retail souq and museum. The souq is divided into four themed areas, each with a central courtyard and columns of shops. Phase Two is to be completed by the end of 2015.
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Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor