Nakheel has the track record of creating signature destinations, whether it's Palm Jumeirah or Palm Jebel Ali. Now, coming under Dubai Holding along with Meydan, it sets the stage for a brand new chapter in Dubai's real estate sector. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: By bringing Nakheel and Meydan under a single entity, Dubai isn’t just adding to their already well-established clout in real estate development and asset base.

Dubai simultaneously could be aiming to use that combined influence to full use in markets beyond the emirate, according to industry sources. 

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Nakheel and Meydan thus joins the Dubai Holding portfolio, which has also been overseeing the other big developer Meraas since 2020. In a tweet, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman of Dubai Holding, mentions: “We are well-positioned to maximise our competitiveness regionally and globally." This will be the aim even as the merger will help ‘advance Dubai’s Economic Vision 2033’.

Dubai’s decision comes just as Nakheel and Meydan have been building up to peak visibility as the local property market looks set for a fourth year of growth. Since October, Nakheel has got busy with the revised masterplans for Palm Jebel Ali and Dubai Islands (which was formerly Derira Islands). Its recent launch of offplan villas on Dubai Islands brought in overnight queues and instant selling out, with investors already anticipating the next round of releases.

“The new versions of Palm Jebel Ali and Dubai Islands will create a new base of property owners in Dubai for waterfront projects,” said an estate agent. “Both islands will recreate what Palm Jumeirah has been doing through the years, and overcoming any property market cycles in the long run.”

Stock - MBR city
The MBR City has been a center of new development activity in recent years. Project completions as well as new offplan launches are happening simultaneously. Image Credit: Supplied

Meydan is just as busy

Mention ‘Meydan’ and the mind will immediately home in on the races. But beyond those races, Meydan is leading the way in developing the 10,800 acre site that is the ‘Mohammed Bin Rashid City’. That’s a size ’20 per cent larger than Manhattan’.

In the last 3 years, projects by private developers have been completed and new ones launched. Alongside the residential options, the location is adding all the other pieces that make for a full-fledged destination, by way of schools, etc.

Meraas, with its credentials as a creator of luxury living spaces, has brought out The Acres, a villa community in Dubailand and with prices starting $1.7 million.

The Nakheel-Meydan merger will contribute to a better structured, more transparent real estate landscape for all stakeholders

- Farhad Azizi of Azizi Developments

“Each of the three Dubai Holding property companies – Nakheel, Meydan and Meraas – now have a higher capitalization base as a result of the Dubai property boom,” said an analyst. “The boom is showing off in the revaluations of assets held by these entities.

“The combined entity can use this to leverage opportunities and increase synergies especially as they move to look overseas.”

A ‘global entity’

Property market insiders are unanimous that Dubai’s move sets the entity up for a global push. Dubai Holding now spans ‘several sectors and that’s sure to bolster the economic surge of the emirate,” said Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, which has a combined Dh9.7 billion in investments at Nakheel and Meydan owned master-developments.

“Undoubtedly, this will create better cohesion in how new projects are launched and developed, with it ultimately contributing to a better structured - and more transparent - real estate landscape for all stakeholders.”

Jumeirah Group's Saudi entry
Dubai Holding has among its operating companies the Jumeirah group, which has been expanding its presence with new signature hotels in new markets. One of the more recent ones has been in Saudi Arabia, with the 500 plus room Jumeirah Jabal Omar Makkah.

Dubai creates clout 

Dubai has in the past using ambitious merger deals to full advantage in the long term. The obvious one is the deal between the Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai in 2007. And which was value added by bringing Dubai Bank into its fold in 2012. (Abu Dhabi’s banking sector saw its banking behemoth being formed, in 2017, with the creation of First Abu Dhabi Bank through bringing together National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank. Then came the ADCB-Union National Bank move that also took in Al Hilal Bank.)

Then in 2014, there was the one between Dubai Aluminium and Emirates Aluminium in Abu Dhabi to create a full-scale global entity in this key industrial space.

“Each of these consolidation moves have paid off, immediately and longer term, for Dubai and the UAE,” said a financial analyst.

Abu Dhabi too had a major real estate focused deal happen just recently, with Q Holding now owning the property assets held by ADQ and IHC. 

We believe this (deal) will further accelerate the availability of diverse projects that cater to a growing demand for various types of properties. Especially, integrated community living. As a result, we expect property prices to stabilize mid-term

- Cherif Sleiman, Chief Revenue Officer at Property Finder

Reshape the Dubai property market

With the latest deal, Dubai Holding has got a broad canvas to pilot its next round of real estate projects. While details of the land bank held by Nakheel and Meydan are not known, suffice to say it’s substantial. Each brand name developer will play to their strengths, with Nakheel in the recent past styling itself as a creator of Dubai’s new signature destinations.

The reworked Dubai Islands plan attests to that.

This Nakheel-Meydan merger sure has the potential to reshape the landscape of the real estate sector in Dubai

- Ranjeet Chavan of Nautilas Properties

“The merger between Nakheel and Meydan holds significant implications for the Dubai property market,” said Ranjeet Chavan, Managing Director of Nautilas Properties. “It can lead to the creation of even more innovative developments that enhances the overall attractiveness of Dubai's property market.

“Additionally, synergies from the merger could result in improved efficiencies, streamlined processes, and enhanced customer experiences, ultimately contributing to the market's growth and stability. It will be crucial to closely monitor the implementation and execution of the merger to assess its full impact on the Dubai property market.”