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Thu 3 Sep 2009 01:05 PM

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$5bn City of Arabia 'on track for end of 2010'

Dubai mega project chief says only small adjustments made amid global downturn.

The developer behind the $5bn City of Arabia retail, residential, commercial and entertainment project in Dubai has said that major elements are on track for a phased opening from the end of 2010.

Adjustments have been made to the overall development in view of the global economic climate, said Alex Vacha, deputy director for projects at City of Arabia. But the four key parts - Mall of Arabia, Restless Planet, Wadi Walk and Elite Towers remain the same.

In an interview published in a preview publication for Cityscape Dubai, he added that 80 percent of homes has already been sold and 89 percent of the gross leasable area for phase one of the mall was committed.

"The remaining residential properties and retail space is purposefully being held back and will be released nearer to the opening of the project," he said.

"With a project as large as City of Arabia...some delays in the course of construction are inevitable. However works on all major elements of the project are progressing," Vacha added.

Commenting on the impact of the global downturn, he said he believed that Dubai was still "a strong option for investors" but added: "Investors are still available but will be more selective in the future. Investors will be looking for quality and will retreat to proven developers and names to try and protect their investments."

He added that while the company had "made out home" in the UAE, it did see Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as "undoubtedly strong growth markets".

A self-contained 20million sq ft community, City of Arabia will have its own monorail system and will include the largest shopping mall in the region, the Mall of Arabia, the Restless Planet, a dinosaur theme park with more than 100 animatronic dinosaurs and will provide accommodation for around 35,000 residents.

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Michael 11 years ago

I am not sure why people still have the guts to talk like this guy. I am passing CoA every day on my way to the office. Perhaps he ment one buildihg will be ready by end 2010. Dream on.

Alvares . J 11 years ago

Contractually they were committed to finish in 2007-2008. they launched in 2003-4. And I cannot see how they will finish in 18 months even the Mall which seems to have some work going on cannot be finished. They have sat on the money of people for five years and now are still talking rubbish. Mr Vacha says 'some delays' these are not some delays these are Major delays. Who ever is behind this project should be held accountable for what has been going on.

Ilyas G 11 years ago

People like this guy damage Dubai, everyone knows what he is saying is ridiculous. Problem is we all then tar other developers with the same brush and go on to do the same to the whole of Dubai.

Original Joe 11 years ago

The only project with a hope of finishing in 2010 at City of Arabia is Wadi Tower. This tower has 30 floors. The Metro Tower and I & M Tower each have 45 floors. These 2 towers and the Mall of Arabia will not be completed until 2011 at the earliest. Wadi Walk will probably be completed in phases with the first phase ready in 2011 and the next phases...who knows? As for the Monorail, who knows? The real problem is the sub-developers. I believe almost all the plots of land in COA have been sold but I doubt sub-developers will be eager to build in this economic environment. I would not be surprised if 2 years from now there are still vacant plots with nothing happening.

a.q.sher 11 years ago

the concept is great and eventually they will get there. the important thing is this is a tough market and if they are moving COA forward that is good. Its good timing considering this recession cannot last forever and perhaps they will finish into the up cycle. on balance doing something is better than nothing.

Moataz 11 years ago

In my opinion, I think that this project is the scam of the century. Investors lost thier money on such illusion. Open investigation should take place.

COA Investor 11 years ago

I am an investor at Wadi Tower. This is not a scam. In fact, the management at Galadari has been very accommodating changing the payment plans due to the delays. The company I work for has leased spaces in the Mall of Arabia. This part of City of Arabia is also not a scam. It's true there have been delays but this is true of almost every project in Dubai. Some of the delays are due to RTA & DEWA. It makes no sense to build something if there will not be access and electricity (although developers in Sharjah may not agree). Yes, right now the project from Emirates Road looks dead. A year from now we will be able to see more than we do now. I am very happy with my investment and believe long term I've made a good decision.

Moataz 11 years ago

Let us meet after one year then to see if you change your mind about this project. I am very confident that you will change your mind unless you work there.

COA supporter 11 years ago

Well if you are really an investor in COA I wish you all the best and hopefully you gonna get back at least the money you invested. From my opinion Dubai is pretty much well covered having 2 major malls (or 3 if you consider Ibn Battuda). Another mall is just too much (also if you have a look at the occupancy of the already existing buildings, you don't really get the feeling that there is the demand for 35,000 more people) unless Dubai suddenly experiences a 2nd gold-rush and doubles it's population. Well, like I said,... hope fully it wasnt a bad investment and hopefully Dubai will grow further.

CH 11 years ago

I think that people who want to invest in Dubai need to be very cautious. Many projects are on hold which is the same as stopped. The world project has stopped, Jebel Ali project has stopped and Deira Palm has stopped. And if you look at some of the prestige projects in UAQ, RAK and also Ajman its the same story. You dont have to be an oracle to know this, you simply need eyes and you will see it for your self. There is not a need for all of these properties, half of them (if not more) are empty already. Most people are here for a short period of time. Investing in Real estate is a long term thing. Not a short term profit solution, gold rush, which UAE has suffered under for the past 4 years. And people simply are not here for 20 years. Some are, but its not a lot of people. Also, there might be a population of approx 4mio in UAE but if all of the laborers left (when the projects finish) then the population only amounts to half of that. And again, there are not enough people to occupy the property. Hence, the point if investing is lost as there are no 'real' buyers. A lot of people have already lost a lot of money due to developers not finishing the buildings, delaying and in some cases the prices go up. If buyers do not want to pay the extra charges or do not agree to other unreasonable terms the can lose the apartment etc.. This does happen. And what are you going to do as a small time investor when the legal system does not have the necessary legislation to handle cases in the real estate market?