We have 120 families now living in Sobha Hartland,” Jyotsna Hegde, president of Sobha Realty, tells me about the eight-million-sq-ft waterfront community in the heart of Dubai’s iconic Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) City. “It’s grown organically and is completely self-sustained.”
Hegde should rest easy now, I think. It’s been a good year for the developer, with a timely handover of the first phase of Hartland Greens in February and the Forest Villas in July. But after the successful launch of the Creek Vistas residential towers earlier this year, Hegde is now all excited about the company’s latest offering, One Park Avenue, a G+24 tower with 403 units that include one- to four-bedroom apartments.
“One Park Avenue is all about sustainability and wellbeing,” says Hegde. “We cannot distance ourselves from the collective consciousness of people around the world.”
She adds: “We are all moving towards spirituality and wellbeing, it has to be part of our offering.” While One Park Avenue will offer uninterrupted views of the Dubai Creek, Downtown Dubai, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai Water Canal and Meydan Racecourse, what sets it apart is its focus on residents’ wellbeing. There will be noise-cancelling façades and landscaped sky gardens offering yoga, outdoor cinema and relaxing lounge experiences. And initiatives such as dedicated electric car spaces with charging stations and motion sensor lighting in the common areas to save electricity will encourage sustainable living. “We are in the business that affects people’s lives. We understand our responsibility,” says Hegde.
One Park Avenue was launched with an exclusive payment plan of just a 5 per cent booking deposit. “Buyers will then need to only pay equal instalments at 5 per cent every three months, while the remainder can be settled at the time of completion,” she said. “For projects that have just been launched, such payment plans are an attractive proposition. At the end of the day we are not breaking any rules with ‘too-good-to-be-true’ post-handover payment plans. Home buying is a highly emotional thing and with people facing challenges in the current market, we are trying to make it easier on the consumer.”
The product, as Hegde explains, is positioned as an upper mid-range product at Dh1,480 per square foot. Sales for One Park Avenue has already been launched and she has been happy with the healthy demand. Talking about long-term appetite for buying in Dubai, she says, “The population has to increase and more jobs need to be created.” Around 50 per cent of Sobha’s buyers have been local residents and the remaining 50 per cent come from target key markets, such as China, India and the GCC. “A lot of young people are buying homes and they are from India and the GCC,” she says. “And we also have interestingly noted a lot of Emiratis now buying homes.”
Buoyed by a positive response from investors, including international buyers, the company concluded Q1 2019 on an upbeat note, registering Dh500 million in sales bookings. “Our aim is to have a turnover of $1 billion [Dh3.67 billion] in the next three years and we are getting closer to that. I think there are two things we need to do as a developer – we need to deliver the best product and we need to do our marketing right. Each time we have delivered a project, it has been better than the previous one.”
Nonetheless, Hedge confesses, “It’s a difficult market. One that demands the survival of the fittest. Companies that have strong fundamentals will only survive. You have to be fair to everyone in the value chain, most of all the customer who places his hard earned money in your hands. You have to keep focusing on your product and you have to deliver what you promise.”