Dubai: Danube Properties will not rule out launching a project at two of Dubai’s most prominent freehold clusters – Dubai Marina and Downtown – if the “right joint venture opportunity” came along.
The developer confirmed talks are on with “four- or five- parties” who have plots that are fully paid up but did not have the funds to build and sell projects. Two of these talks should be finalised within weeks and be ready to get into actual launch mode, with Danube handling all of the project, design and sales.
Apart from a sole project in Business Bay, Danube had until now focussed on mid-market/emerging residential communities – Arjan, Studio City, Al Furjan, etc. - for its brand of ‘affordable luxury’ homes. The impression was that locations such as a Downtown would be eschewed to keep development costs under strict control.
"I can rule that out happening - what we do with our hospitality-focussed interiors division is supply a few essentials to hotel projects," he said. "That's where we are picking up good business on the way."
A chance to revive
But with JVs where the land is owned by another investor-developer, Danube expects to keep that tight lid on project costs. And work out a profit sharing deal with the land owner. (A typical Danube-helmed project costs around Dh500 million.)
“There is no specific formula we insist with any of the owners of the land,” said Rizwan Sajan, founder and Chairman of Danube Group. “Partnering us, we give them an opportunity to monetise the land they own. If they were to sell the land directly into the market now, chances are they will be doing so at a loss.
“Some of the land we are interested in have been left untouched even three years after it was initially paid for. Building on that land is the best way to turn a profit for them – they just have to wait the additional three years it will take to build.” (Of its portfolio of projects, completed and ongoing, two were done as joint ventures with the land owner.)
Taste for luxury
It was after the delivery of ‘Bayz’ – with 456 units across 29 storeys - at Business Bay that Danube felt it’s build strategy can work just fine at locations such as a Downtown or Dubai Marina. “Bayz had a premium because of the location, but we had investors giving feedback they want something similar from us,” the Chairman added. “The talks we are having on JVs do not figure a Downtown project just yet, but Marina and Business Bay are there.”
Recent launches at Business Bay such as the one from Deyaar was an instant hit, while Downtown is one area where market sources say will likely see a sharp recovery in demand in 2022. The other area that is getting a lot of developer interest is at Dubai Water Canal.
Back to build
It was in October that Danube returned to the offplan market with ‘Skyz’ after more than 15 months. During this period, the developer focussed on completion, with Bayz and Miraclz being the notable handovers.
“I don’t know whether it’s a good time for a property owner to sell,” said Sajan. “But this much I know for a fact – this is as good a time as possible to buy a home in Dubai. It doesn’t really matter which developer, but everyone should give serious thought about homeownership. It’s the best time to buy.”
Speaking to Gulf News at the event, Anis Sajan, Vice-Chairman of the Danube Group, said: “Miraclz is the eighth property by Danube. Most of the expats in the UAE live in rented houses. Everyone who is working in the UAE is planning to buy houses in their home country.
"But why not buy flat here in UAE, which we call a second home? Why not have a home in a country where we work? That's the motto of Miraclz.
"Stop paying rent and start owning your own house. That is our tagline and with the installment plan anyone can own a home in the UAE within 3 years. That's the idea behind Miraclz.
“For instance a studio flat on the higher side is Dh400,000. The lower the flat the lesser the amount.”
And, how does Danube keep it affordable? Sajan said: “Danube is in the building material business for the last 28 years. We started as a building materials company in 1992. So, most of the property builders had to buy materials from companies like Danube.
"When we develop a building , the mark up which we charge to the other developers we pass it on to the clients. Be it anything - interiors, furniture, or whatever a property needs, we import it. The infrastructure we built for the last 27 years made us who we are and that's why we can afford such quality standard service.
“More people want to move to Dubai and businesses are flourishing. It is said that after a world expo is held in a country, its economy rises. When the economy goes up the prices of property go up."
- Surabhi Vasundharadevi