Milano will have 124 serviced apartments Image Credit: Reign Holdings

Italy brings me good fortune,” says Samir Salya, chairman of Reign Holdings, the parent company of developer Arthur and Hardman that has announced plans to build 10 different towers in Dubai in the next year. Not surprisingly, the buildings will be named after Italian cities.

The developer recently launched Milano by Giovanni Boutique Suites, a 124-room, fully furnished hotel apartment project in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) that is expected to be completed in June 2018. The company has already delivered 400 furnished apartments in Roma by Giovanni Boutique Suites in Dubai Sports City. Naples and Venice are the other two projects in the pipeline.

“We are investing heavily in Dubai and have a land bank worth about $150 million [Dh550.83 million] in the emirate,” says Salya. “We will be building 10 iconic towers in the next 24 months, all named after the beautiful Italian cities of Milano, Roma, Naples and Venice. We have other projects in various stages of development in the design phase. These include residential towers, hotels and skyscrapers in Dubai Marina, Meydan, Business Bay and Dubai South.”

In an interview with PW, Salya talks about his plans of introducing more hotel apartments in Dubai.

Why are you focusing on hotel apartments?

Dubai is continuously growing as the tourism hub of the Middle East. With so many golfing and shopping options, amusement parks and other tourist attractions available here, along with excitement building up for the World Expo 2020, a large number of tourists want to visit the place for longer periods now than before. With most five-star hotels being busy and expensive for people travelling with their families, tourists are always looking out for options. Serviced hotel apartments are, therefore, very popular in this market. As per our study, in JVC several five-, four-, and three-star hotel apartments are going to be developed and the whole area will provide a different category of housing options to visitors and residents.

How will Milano add value to the market?

Milano will offer 124 fully furnished hotel apartments, managed by an international hotel operator. The buyers will have access to various amenities like a café, swimming pool, 24-hour concierge, gym, retail and four floors of parking. We are currently talking to the master developer for including a spa in this building. Buyers have the option to include their unit in a rental pool managed by the hotel operator and receive 10 per cent minimum rental yield on their investment and are allocated a certain number of days to stay in it. They also have a choice to use it as end users or lease it themselves.

What’s the sale price for units in Milano?

Apartment prices start at Dh499,000 for a studio, Dh959,000 for one-bedders and Dh1.232 million for two-bedroom units, offered with an attractive payment plan of 50 per cent until completion and 50 per cent upon handover. The project is 30 per cent complete and we are expecting to hand over in June next year.

Who is buying?

We have sold 30 per cent of the units in Milano. Most buyers are from Europe who have bought units to use it as a holiday home. We’ve also had many Russian and Indian clients and recently we have seen clients from the Far East. The market is always evolving, making Dubai a truly global brand.

Why did you settle for names of Italian cities?

Well, I love Italy. When I started my career, I was in the clothing business with my father in England. We used to be the biggest cloth manufacturers and our clothing brand had an Italian name. It was very successful from the beginning, so I believe that the country brought me good fortune. While brainstorming names for our project under the Giovanni Boutiques suites in Dubai, I decided each tower should bear the name of an Italian city.

What are your views about the Dubai real estate market?

Right now the rental market is very strong, especially on the outskirts of Dubai, such as Dubai Sports City, JVC, Discovery Gardens and International City. These places offer fantastic rental yields between 9-10 per cent.

We also found that a number of investors from the UK have reduced significantly post Brexit. However, the Chinese that were investing heavily in the UK now look at investment opportunities in Dubai. Also, amid all the geopolitical tensions, people find Dubai a safe place and are moving here to live. Dubai is quite centrally located, so even if the UK or European market is slow, there are buyers from the Far East, as well as from the Indian subcontinent. We are positive that this market will have a fair share of buyers and investors.