The key ingredients in property development

Professional speakIsam Ababneh, Director - Projects, Union Properties

The UAE is definitely a property developer’s paradise – a place where many iconic, world-renowned developments like the Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Palace and Burj Khalifa have emerged.

One of the main reasons why the local real estate market remains one of the single most interesting factors in the aesthetics and economics of the country is because UAE property developers have never been shy when it comes to planning and building new, unique and unforgettable projects.

And even as the market is currently witnessing challenging times in the face of the ongoing market slowdown, both developers and realtors have continued to re-launch ready property with attractive new deals.

Some developers have also launched off-plan projects as investors, armed with learnings from recent history and with the assurance of stricter regulations already in place, continue to venture into off-plan development territory.

We speak to Isam Ababneh, Director of Projects at Union Properties, about what it takes to be a successful developer, and the processes which take place behind every project.

Knowledge, experience and skills essential to successful property development

For someone who is considering becoming a real estate developer, it is important to obtain an education relevant to real estate development.

Several majors include courses that can help real estate developers build the skills necessary for the role.

Relevant subjects include civil engineering, architecture, construction management as well as business and management.

A degree in civil engineering will be very valuable since it can help one learn exactly how things are built.

Programmes in business or management are useful for developing logical reasoning skills, and an understanding of the whole economics of real estate development as well.

How development project plans come about

The process of property development all starts with researching market trends in terms of supply and demand, and rises and falls in real estate prices.

Then, based on this research, developers target certain areas and certain types of developments.

After which, a concept or idea is formed, and a pre-concept architectural scheme is prepared along with an initial budget estimate, and a preliminary feasibility study.

If all falls into place, the project is further developed and then actualised.

In general, real estate developments go through three phases, starting with the planning phase which includes market research and feasibility studies, then design development, and finally construction.

Uniqueness of Dubai in terms of property development

The variety and scale of Dubai projects is what distinguishes it from other areas in the UAE.

Projects in Dubai are generally diverse and large-scale.

Developers target building complete communities that will have residential, commercial, retail, hospitality and leisure elements.

Every developer works really hard for that little extra to differentiate their project.

That’s why many of the projects in Dubai are unique.

Why mixed-use developments are the way to go

The idea behind mixed-use projects is nothing new.

Starting 2004, in the UAE, the concept of having building communities had become popular, and if you look at Abu Dhabi or Dubai, buildings all over have a couple of retail shops on the ground or lower floors and residential units on the higher floors – examples of very basic mixed-use projects.

Nowadays, there are larger mixed-use developments that feature villas, a couple of buildings, retail units and other elements which contribute to create a completely self-contained community so that residents do not have to go elsewhere to shop, dine or engage in leisure and fitness activities.

Some ongoing mega projects in Dubai

•    Dubailand – projected to be finished in time for Expo 2020, it is set to become the largest retail and entertainment development worldwide

•    Dubai Canal – also known as the “Dubai Creek extension project,” the ongoing construction work will soon see water crossing Shaikh Zayed Road

•    Mohammed Bin Rashid City – located just off Al Khail Road, the mega master development is on track for Phase 1, and is envisioned to become a total lifestyle home for residents as well as a tourism haunt

Source: Claire Dangalan, Special to Freehold


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