Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Other developers would be welcome to come up with their own projects at Hayat Island in Ras Al Khaimah, a 6 million square feet destination in the making. But they can’t be just any other project, according to the master-developer of Hayat Island, RAK Properties.

“Their concepts will need to be of value, real value,” said Samuel Dean Seddiqi, CEO. “In fact, we are talking to third parties on possibilities.

“The way we see it now, Hayat Island will have eight to nine projects of reasonable scale, and these will be a development priority for us.”

For now, RAK Properties is thinking of a 50:50 split between hospitality-themed projects and those that are purely residential. “That mix could be changed depending on which way the market goes in the next couple of years,” the CEO added.

Ras Al Khaimah has been having a fairly good time of it with its hotels in recent times, industry sources say. New and high-end additions in the number of new hotels and rooms has been paying off, with fairly stable occupancy levels. Room rates too have held up relatively well.

RAK Properties’ own Mina Al Arab is hosting some of the recently completed ones. Now, with the Hayat Island — with its proximity to the lagoons — the developer has another chance to take the hospitality element further. The InterContinental and Anantara are two that have confirmed to date.

On Thursday (September 13), it also added to the island’s future residential options, in the form of 205 Marbella villas, with prices from Dh1.5 million.

High-end

It had earlier launched the high-end Northbay, where apartments start from Dh725,000.

“Today, Mina Al Arab has 2,000 residents living at its residential offerings,” said Seddiqi.

“By the end of the decade, with all the new homes made ready, I would say that number would rise by about 70 per cent or so.”

Of the northern emirates, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have figured prominently on the investors’ radar. Sharjah has in the last year and more been announcing a slew of projects, either through developers such as Arada and Alef, or through alliances truck by Shurooq (Sharjah Investment & Development Authority) with others.

RAK Properties has got another island — the “Raha”— that it can turn into a future destination. “But for the immediate future, the Hayat will be our main focus,” the CEO said.

(Ras Al Khaimah also has a third island development, Al Marjan, and which is being developed by a different developer, Al Marjan Island llc.

There the master-developer is focussed on creating the infrastructure and other support features, but leaves the build up of the individual projects to third-party developers. Emaar is one of them.)

On whether there were plans to tap new funds for the upcoming Hayat projects, Seddiqi said: “We had taken debt for the earlier two hotel projects... but our balance-sheet remains strong. We don’t need to cross that point — of seeking additional funds — just yet.”

Seeking more of the hospitality glow

Ras Al Khaimah recorded a 14 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the first six months, and the full-year figure could turn out to be more than 1 million.

The goal is to raise this to 3 million guests by 2025.

This is where all the islands and their many hotels will lend a hand.