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Although it has a land bank comprising plots in Al Furjan, Waterfront and Arjan, developer Indigo Properties isn’t planning any new developments. The company says it will instead focus on current projects, particularly its groundbreaking, greeninspired residential development, Zen by Indigo.
“There is plenty of freehold land available, such as in Dubailand [where prices are] between Dh200 and Dh250 per square foot, depending on location,” says Dev Maitra, CEO of Indigo Properties.
“But to transform the desert into a sustainable base to be able to construct is expensive.” He adds: “Zen deserves the full attention of our team. We will not start something new at this stage.”
Zen by Indigo comprises 389 villas and town houses, which has been increased from 346 homes. The 4.5-million- sq-ft community was launched in September 2014 and broke ground last year. “It’s a recreation of something very unique. It’s a natural habitat, a serene tropical paradise we’re trying to create in the middle of the desert, something Dubai has not seen before,” says Maitra. “You will find the thematic scheme of Zen to be very calming. [It has] stunning landscape, great elevation with meandering paths and waterways, and plenty of greenery wherever you go.
“The careful planning of space together with great finish makes it a holistic development.”
Indigo by Zen is located in the 50-million-sq-ft Dubai Golf City, a master development launched in 2005 in Dubailand. The economic crunch in 2008-09 stalled the Golf City development, but it has been revived to include the Oasis golf course. According to the UK golf course design company Thomson Perrett & Lobb, the site’s natural landscape was maintained while construction was on hold. With work restarted on the last four holes last year, completion shouldn’t be far off.
“As of now infrastructure work is progressing well for our corner, as well as for Dubai Golf City, which has a revised master plan for villas and buildings,” says Maitra. “We’re also going ahead with the expansion of the golf course to add the remaining holes. Three levels of infrastructure have been done, [as well as] the grading, the ground level one and two, and the storm water system.”
With the required infrastructure to start building some of the villas in place, the developer is currently working on its four show homes, which will be ready by November. The entire development will be completed by summer 2018.
“The infrastructure and the villa programme will overlap. The show villas are at ground level and in the third quarter of this year we’ll start building the main villas,” explains Maitra.
“We’ve spoken to our contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, and by virtue of an accelerated programme we should be still delivering in a similar time frame, delayed by a couple of quarters.”
Focus on Zen
Located behind Dubai Sports City and next to Akoya and Remraam, Zen will benefit from an easily accessible road network. “The decision to develop in this area has paid off, as today we have the advantage of being at the intersection of two major roads, Hessa and Academic Roads,” says Maitra.
The developer is concurrently promoting its other projects, such as the Orange Lake villas at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but will give Zen a particular focus.
“We have sold a few villas in Zen since launch and will of course continue to do so. We’ll formally launch and push ahead with the sale when the construction is in full flow,” Maitra adds.
Designed by UAE-based firms Archgroup and Serendipity by Design, the Zen residences boast a pleasant architectural theme inspired by homes found in South East Asia. The contemporary design employs natural materials, such as timber and rustic roof tiles, and is accentuated by light and airy interiors thanks to floor-toceiling windows and sliding doors. There are also plenty of balconies and terraces.
The villas will range from 5,500-9,800 sq ft, with a mix of four-, five- and sixbedders. The three-bedroom townhouses are around 3,800 sq ft in size and comprise 20 per cent of the supply. Maitra agrees there is growing demand for more affordable smaller villas, but cautions against drastic moves to satisfy this clamour.
“Any mature developer should look at the midand long-term perspective, around five to 10 years, instead of reacting to the current market conditions. There will always be demand for larger villas from midincome families.”
Maitra says around 60 per cent of buyers at Zen will come from Asia, while the rest will be mainly European.
“We have a mix of loyal customers from our other developments,” he says. “We have consistently delivered [our projects] over the past 10 years, such as Indigo Tower, which is trading 25 per cent higher than others next door. We don’t compromise on quality.”
Homes in the development costs around Dh1,000 per square foot. Town house prices range from Dh2m- Dh2.5m, while a villa costs up to Dh4m.
The developer initially offered a payment plan that required 60 per cent during construction and 40 per cent on completion. However, Indigo is now looking to offer post-handover schemes.
“We want to be flexible and find a suitable solution for our buyers to ease their cash flow,” says Maitra.
Source: Nicole Walter, Special to Property Weekly