Marina 101
Did the Marina 101 just get put up for an auction? The luxury tower is 97.3% complete and property owners are unsure why this is being done. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Property owners in the Marina 101 skyscraper at Dubai Marina received a rude jolt early Wednesday – they felt the entire building has been placed for sale on an auction site. And the reserve price was set at a “astonishingly low” Dh361.45 million for the auction.

It has now been confirmed that the 32 floors making up the hotel portion of the 101-storey structure have gone on auction and buyers can place bids until May 26. The reserve price of Dh361 million is set only for that part, owners of the residential units have been assured.

It will be followed at a later date with the auctioning off of unsold residential units, the owners have been told. Property owners that Gulf News spoke to say they were not consulted by whoever placed the building for auction. The project, launched in 2005, was 97.3 per cent complete when construction ground to a halt in mid-2019 over the developer’s debts.

The Marina 101 reportedly cost around Dh1 billion. Apart from the 2.7 per cent work on the exterior, it will need extensive interior works to be made fit for occupation.

Kite flying

As of now, it’s unclear who authorised placing the building on the auction block. Banks have the right – but Marina 101 features many property owners who paid off 80 per cent and more on their Dh1 million plus apartments. Many had received their Oqood certificates as well, which are those registrations done on offplan sales with the Dubai Land Department.

“As far as know, most property owners, including myself, have not given any Power of Attorney to anyone on the apartments,” said Johan, one of the buyers. 

Power of Attorney

The rules of auctioning delayed projects are quite clear. As much as possible, property owners must be brought on board or at least apprised of the plans.

According to one property owner, “This is an incorrect move - and we are trying to see how it can be corrected. The proposed auction petition was for the hotel part of the project against court verified claims by Bank of Baroda and other lenders.

“The auction has incorrectly portrayed it as a sale of the whole building. The matter is of course subjudice, and the final decision rests with the court.”

Finding that 'right' price
The planned auction could be a way for lender banks to gauge potential investor interest to take over the Marina 101.

"The reserve price set for the auction is close to the banks' exposure to the project," said an industry source. "Any bidder will want to know whether there are other liabilities involved as well."

Mixed-use and massive

The Marina 101 was designed as a mixed-use high-rise, with nearly 300 hotel rooms and more than 400 apartments, including multiple duplexes. Many of the current owners had bought the units between 2015-17, when it was felt that an already much delayed project was finally going to get completed.

There were potential investor groups willing to take on the project and get it over the finish-line. In fact, talks of an informal nature were being held with the real estate authorities even on Tuesday, according to sources in the know.

According to one investor who has been giving it a thought, “If we come in to complete the project, we will make sure that all property owners get what they have paid for. Reviving this project is also of utmost importance to the wider property market in Dubai.”