Emirates NBD to finish Motor City Hotel in 2014

UAE lender acquired the Dubai hospitality asset from developer Union Properties in May

Emirates NBD says it is on track to complete the 243-room Motor City Hotel in the next eight months after acquiring the asset from developer Union Properties (UP) in May.

The hotel, which was previously flagged to be a Marriott Hotels project, was expected to be finished in 2009 but was put on hold by UP during Dubai’s property crisis.

UP told Arabian Business at the Cityscape Global this week that it no longer owned the hotel and it was being developed by Emirates NBD.

The bank, through its property arm Emirates NBD Properties, also owns Uptown MotorCity, which was built by UP's wider Motor City project.

Emirates NBD general manager Ali Rashid Al Kaitoob told Arabian Business that he hoped to finish the hotel in June next year, with construction 60 percent complete.

However, he said it was not interested in holding on to the hotel asset, but rather wanted to build and sell the property.

“The plan is to complete the hotel and to have it ready for investors or operators,” he said at the bank’s Cityscape stand. “All options are open.”

He said an operator had not been confirmed for the hotel, which has land zoning for six floors and 353,444 square foot.

Inspired by the architecture of an “English spa town”, Uptown MotorCity features about 600 one, two and three-bedroom apartments set among parks, central piazzas and retail outlets.

The development also has schools and sports facilities.

The project is finished and Al Kaitoob said almost 40 percent of the units had been sold, with the market encouraging.

Prices ranged from AED760/sqft to AED850/sqft.

“This portfolio, we acquired it,” Al Kaitoob said. “Of course we want to sell it as well. But, at the same time Emirates NDB Property is a subsidiary of Emirates NBD. We develop our own buildings as well… and we have developed a lot of land, such as Meydan.”

At Cityscape, Emirates NBD Properties was advertising a 1.385m sq ft plot in Zabeel 2 area, which had potential for 50 floors and was zoned for serviced apartments.

Other plots were 377,693sqft on Sheikh Zayed Road, which could be developed into 34 storeys of retail and residential and 545,258sqft in Business Bay, which had potential for retail and residential over 20 floors.

Asked whether it had plans to expand its portfolio, Al Kaitoob said it was not an active growth path.

“We never know, if we get rid of most of our (assets) then maybe,” he said. “We don’t want to engage banks in real estate.”

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