Omniyat has kept its cards close to its chest over the last four years after being hit hard by the Dubai property bubble. But chairman Mahdi Amjad says the developer is back in business, with some familiar projects being relaunched recently
After bursting onto the property scene in 2005, and later taking its fair share of the collateral damage when the market crashed, Dubai real estate and services group Omniyat has lately been lying low.
With the exception of the ongoing fallout from its cancelled Beachfront Living project, which is still making its way through the local property regulator, there has been little news from the company for about four years despite it previously revelling in the media spotlight.
It was not accidental, it turns out. Rather, Omniyat has been using this time to regroup and work out the best way forward.
“During the course of this five years we looked at our portfolio and we looked at how we could effectively enhance this portfolio, reflecting the market demand,” Omniyat’s executive chairman and CEO, Mahdi Amjad, explains.
The end result is the company is now shifting away from residential-only developments to more diverse and, it believes, lucrative hotel-residential projects.
“The demands back in 2008 were different,” Iraqi-born Amjad says. “The demand of Dubai has gone more towards tourism and the growth of tourism reflects that.
And after consolidating its portfolio down to AED6bn ($1.63bn) during the downturn, from a high of about AED28bn ($6bn) in 2009, Omniyat is again looking to grow with plans for AED11bn ($3bn) in projects by the end of 2014.
Its return to the big stage has come in the form of three major ventures launched at the three-day Cityscape Global last week. Giving details of two projects, Amjad confirms The Opus will be a revamp of the mega-development it launched in 2008 in Business Bay.
Previously a 23-storey retail and commercial tower that was slated to be finished in 2010, the project will now also comprise a five-star, mixed-use hotel, as well as apartments.
Amjad says the new Opus development is again designed by world-renowned Iraqi-British architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, but will now be the first hotel and apartment project to her name.
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