Marina 101
File picture of the Marina 101, occupying one of the prime spots in Dubai Marina's tallest towers' cluster. The skyscraper needs to complete some more work before it can be issued with the necessary certification. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Will work start again soon on the Marina 101, the Dubai skyscraper stuck at the 97 per cent completion stage for the last 8 years?

Located in Dubai Marina and rising over 400 metres, the Marina 101 is seeing a sharp rise in deals involving its multi-million dirham apartments over recent weeks. That these sellers managed to find buyers for a project that’s seen huge delays – the launch of the project dates back to 2005 - has instilled belief in other apartment owners that steps will be taken to complete the final 3 per cent work.

And then have the Building Construction Certificate issued by the local real estate authority.

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“Officially, the building is more than 97 per cent complete according to the last inspection done some years ago,” said Johan James, who had paid for his unit there back in mid-2016. “From what I've heard, Civil Defence has noted a few things that need to be fixed before they can issue the Building Completion Certificate.

“Things seem to be moving slowly, and apartment owners have not been informed about what remains to be done.”

How have recent sales fared?

Over the last 12 months, there have been nearly 30 units sold at Marina 101, with number of transactions picking up in May. The average sale value of these transactions been just over Dh2 million.

My plan was always to retain the Marina 101 unit, no matter what the market conditions are. However, recently, things have been financially challenging

- Johan James, an investor in Marina 101 and who paid in full mid-2016.

Right now, Marina 101 units are going for Dh1,100-Dh1,200 per square foot versus the Dh1,800-Dh1,900 that prime Dubai Marina units are fetching in the secondary market.

“That’s still a significant discount – by around 40 per cent – to what similar units at towers located in the same area of Dubai Marina has been seeing,” said Sameer Lakhani, Managing Director at Global Capital Partners. “It’s part of the ‘tallest tower block’ at the Marina, and whoever has been buying is getting real good value for money.”

Because, eventually, the Marina 101 will see a completion. For existing property owners there, the only wish is that this happens soon enough.

A group of investors who bought apartments at Marina 101 and still waiting for the delivery to happen. In recent weeks, there has been a clear spike in unit sales at the Dubai tower. Image Credit: Gulf News

“I purchased and fully paid for two 3-bedroom units in 2016,” said Fabrizio Francia, another investor at Marina 101. “I still haven’t decided what to do. After such a long time, I am only hoping to get the handover – soon.

“We haven’t received any information from the contractor. This is frustrating as we are in constant doubt and emotional stress. The location of Marina 101 is just walking distance from the harbor, which is in very high demand. I hope to receive official information about the expected delivery very soon.”

To sell with the building not handed over, we would have to discount the price. For this reason, I decided to wait and hope things get done so I can get possession of my property

- Fabrizio Francia, investor at Marina 101

At its launch in the mid-2000s, Marina 101 - with Sheffield Real Estate as developer - was among the most sought after by investors. It was still the early phase of Dubai allowing freehold ownership for all, and Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah were the freehold hotspots. The Marina 101 was conceived as a hotel and residential project, and the first phase of construction proceeded fairly smoothly. (The hotel part was sold through an auction in 2022.)

Revival of stuck projects

In recent months, multiple projects launched in 2000s and then got delayed for various reasons have been brought back to life. One of the notable deals happened at the Dubai Marina, with the 'Pentominium' site being bought by Select Group for $100 million and relaunched as a luxury branded residence project.

Recent activity such as a surge in Marina 101 prices and a resuscitation of sales - as well as speculation around new owners being brought in - has revived interest in the project despite a lack of concrete information in the public domain

- Reidin-GCP report

“Under its new name - Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina - sales resumed this year and transaction prices skyrocketed,” says a recent report issued by Reidin-GCP. “Pentominium Tower (project) stalled in late 2011 and sales stopped shortly thereafter as the building remained in a state of limbo for over 10 years.”

Another tower in Dubai Marina has just been acquired via an auction, at around Dh275 million, according to market sources.

"Dubai's legacy locations - Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Downtown - remain entrenched as investor favorites, more so because there are few plots left," said Lakhani. "This is why the Marina 101 is still drawing such attention - and will continue to do so till such time it's finally ready."

Even for those existing property owners there who have waited 8 years and more...