Emirates Towers architect puts her signature on The Palm

Image Credit: SuppliedImage Credit: Supplied

Hazel Wong — the architect of one of Dubai’s signature addresses, the Emirates Towers — has designed the latest addition to the Palm island topography — “Serenia Residences” from Palma Development. Though only a ground plus nine storey property, it is to bear all of the imprints from Wong’s portfolio — maximise the use of natural light and the full panorama that comes with a location on the water’s edge.

The combination of Wong and water will provide the Wow factor the development needs, according to promoter, and expected to generate a sales value of Dh1.5 billion. Sales of the 250 units start on May 5, and Palma is also marketing it extensively to its roster of private clients. Prices start from Dh2 million for a one-bedroom and comes in at Dh36 million plus apiece for the three “presidential” penthouses. (Palma Development is a subsidiary of Palma Holding and Banian, an investment entity.

“The Dubai market’s been slow in the last six months, but that’s not the same as saying that categories have been affected,” said Kareem Derbas, CEO and Partner at Palma. “When someone offers beachfront living — and it’s true for any city — there will always be buyers for them, whatever be state of the market at the time.

“It’s been 15 years since Emirates Towers was built and it’s still timeless. And Palma itself had an earlier association with Hazel — through the Silverine high-rise in Dubai Marina — and it still retains a visual appeal despite being there for four years now.

Arabesque architecture

“The latest association with Hazel is not about name dropping a top architect, but to get her to create another timeless piece of architecture. The brief was to come up with something contemporary in look given that the surrounding area is heavily accented with Arabesque architecture.”

But according to Simon Townsend, Head of Capital Markets at the consultancy DTZ, a branding can work its wonders — “with increasing supply and the demand fundamentals under some pressure, developers have to look at how best to target the market,” he said. “There is often a difference between an iconic building and a functional building. We are noting not only a flight to quality but also to cost-effectiveness.

“What is undoubted is that quality modern architects are designing to the market rather than the sky, and as such we (can) expect something special visually but also something that maximises usable space and provides the balance that investors seek.”

For Serenia, shoring and foundation works started last month, while the main contractor will be finalised by summer. Completion is scheduled for December 2017.

As for Palma, it will stick to launching one project a year, and has already started planning the new one. Derbas declined to specify the location, though he did say that the developer’s focus will remain on beach- and waterfront locations. “Also, our preferences are to go into a location which is already mature in its development,” he said. “In a market where government-owned developers drive 80-90 per cent of activity in the priority areas, it does not make sense for a single developer to go in early.

“But we will keep looking at plot purchases in newer locations and do so at an early stage itself given how important the land acquisition costs can be to profitability.”



Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com


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