Interview: Sobha's PNC Menon

Legendary developer PNC Menon is taking on his biggest challenge yet: District One in Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid City

PNC Menon doesn’t mince his words when describing his involvement in Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid City project.

Almost three decades after his entrepreneurial journey began, and at the age of 65, the founder of the Sobha Group of companies says it is “the most exciting thing to have happened in my life”.

Menon says in terms of land size, the 4.2 million square-metre (sqm) District One, which is being built in a joint venture with Dubai developer Meydan as the first phase of the overall city, was the biggest single project the company had ever embarked on.

“It’s a dream project for me,” he says in the surroundings of his Dubai home in Emirates Hills. “Both of us, we are so committed to this project and we are making sure this is one of the best projects on earth.”

 “A lot of it is driven with a lot of passion. For me this is a dream and we would go to any extent to make sure this is well planned.”

For Menon to be as enthusiastic today about the company’s projects says much about the man whose rags-to-riches tale is the stuff of business legend.

From humble beginnings running an interior decoration firm in the Sultanate of Oman, today the Sobha Group is a fully backward integrated, multinational, multiproduct organisation spanning the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei, Tanzania and India with interests in real estate, construction, building services, architectural and engineering design, retail and software.

With an annual turnover of $600m and 31,000 employees, it has delivered 60 million square feet (sqft) of projects, with land holdings of 240 million sqft.

“We have a lot of experience,” Menon says, modestly.

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Posted by: I. A. Fernandes

I hope this does not end up just like Sobha Lifestyle in Bangalore. Mr. PNC Menon spelled the same dream for this project in Bangalore when he launched the project in Dubai in 2008. Believing in his dream people like me invested in this project. 5 years later we still do not have our home ready and worst we were hit by a huge surprise in Dec 2012 when from nowhere Sobha sent us an email saying they have arbitarily changed the plans and elevations (contrary to what was signed in the SPA) and it would now cost us a another INR 1.5 crore more, that after all the delays and having a registered SPA. They took upon themselves to decide that it is their right to deliver whatever they thought fit, at whatever price they thought right and at any time that suited them. The customer has no choice. We had to initiate our legal means to get them even talk to us on this. Their reputation is definitely hit by such actions and hope none of this gets repeated here.

Posted by: Suresh

Great PR Work..(..nth Series)

Posted by: Naiyer

Great article, thanks for publishing it.

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