Emaar Begins Sales at $3.2B Master-Planned Community in Dubai

Development in Dubai continues to explode with Emaar Properties, the Middle East’s largest builder, saying it is beginning sales this week for its newest residential master-planned community. Mushrif Heights is estimated to cost $3.2 billion U.S. and will be an eco-friendly community spread over 44 million square feet featuring villas, town homes and apartments. Emaar Properties, which introduced the master-planned community concept to Dubai in 1999 with its Emirate Hills project, is building Mushrif Heights near Al Awir, close to Mushrif Park and about 15 minutes from the Dubai International Airport. A company release notes that the new neighborhood is part of Emaar’s strategy of “creating new economic growth engines in various Dubai districts.” Along with parks, walkways and landscaped gardens, the new community will have a school, town centers, a mosque, shopping and other leisure and recreational facilities. Sales for the Sidra town homes, the first phase of the project, begin Aug. 23. The town homes will range in size from 2,325 square feet to 3,642 square feet and will have one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units. As part of the project’s living with nature theme, the homes will have balconies and choice of garden, courtyard or roof deck. Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director-UAE for Emaar Properties, said in the company release that Mushrif Heights is part of Emaar’s commitment to creating more sustainable development initiatives in Dubai with green, energy-efficient buildings. Mushrif Heights joins other new multi-billion developments rising in the Dubai desert as the United Arab Emirates continues to be transformed. An 800 million-square-foot, $60 billion city to be called Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens will be built by Dubai Properties, according to a June 23 CPN report. It will be built around four houses, or centers, that will eventually include universities, museums, zoos and more parkland than New York City and London combined. Dubai-based real estate developer Nakheel is building Waterfront City in Dubai along 815 acres on the western edge of the emirate The 1.4 billion-square-foot town will cost approximately $50 billion to build, a March 12 CPN report noted. The new towns join new hotels, shopping malls, office buildings and the $20 billion, mixed-use, 130-story Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building that Emaar is still constructing in Dubai. For the first half of 2008, the United Arab Emirates has been the fourth most active land sales market in the world, compared to 24th most active at the same time last year, according to the mid-year Global Capital Trends report from Real Capital Analytics. Much of the increase in activity in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region is due to increased development in markets like the UAE, the independent research firm noted. The report stated the UAE had $3.7 billion in land transactions for the first part of 2008, up a staggering 1,348 percent over mid-year 2007. “Dubai is going to be the Las Vegas growth story of the next 20 years,” Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics, told CPN today. “But it seems like they are playing on so many more levels than Las Vegas. They are not just trying to make themselves a tourist destination, but a business hub as well.” Fasulo said there is a tremendous demand for residential properties right now, but it is unclear whether that growth will be supported in the long term. In the meantime, he said Dubai is being smart in also improving and expanding its infrastructure with new mass transit, roads, airports and coastline. “They’re making the right investments now in order to support long-term growth,” he added. Emaar, which has six business segments and more than 60 companies, is active in over 36 markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America.