By Shane McGinley
Saudi developer behind the iconic Dubai Marina tower is also looking at projects in London and Paris ahead of a possible IPO in 2018
Saudi property developer Cayan Group is studying possible locations to build a second twisted tower similar to the one it unveiled in Dubai Marina in 2013, it's chairman told Arabian Business.
Cayan Tower, or Infinity Tower as it was previously known, is 75 storeys high, rotates a full 90 degrees and was officially declared by the Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest twisted tower when it was officially opened two years ago.
The popularity of the property has meant developer Cayan Group is now planning to replicate the design and is studying potential locations to launch a second version of the iconic tower.
“I would love to see it everywhere, but we are studying more than one city and we still have not finalised [a location] but we are studying and evaluating,” its chairman Ahmed Alhatti confirmed. “It is difficult to do it in Europe considering the height is restricted.
“We are focusing on more than one project in our pipeline, this project is only subject to the proper location as we can’t just do it anywhere. Once we have the right opportunity with the right people we will evaluate it. We have several opportunities in the pipeline… We will do it ourselves, we will not licence [the design],” he added.
During the boom days of global real estate, approaches were made to build a scale replica of the Burj al Arab along the famous Las Vegas strip, but plans were shelved with the onset of the downturn.
However, even if the Vegas plans were revived, Alhatti said it is unlikely Cayan Tower would feature. “In Las Vegas? We never thought of that,” he said with a surprised tone. “We have restrictions on doing any projects in Las Vegas because we can’t do gambling, we don’t go for that.”
Alhatti made the comments as the developer launched three new projects worth AED3.1 billion ($844 million).
Last month, Cayan signed an agreement with Dubai investment firm Shuaa Capital to set up a real estate. The first project launched as part of this partnership will be Cayan Cantara, a branded residence and hotel apartment project located along Dubai's Umm Suqeim Road, which will include two towers and a hanging glass-walled swimming pool.
At an event in Dubai this month, it also launched two projects in Riyadh. Samaya will be a one million square metre masterplan development in the north western area of the Saudi capital, while CM1 will be a commercial building along King Fahed Road, which will also include some residential and retail elements.
Looking further afield, Alhatti also confirmed rumours Cayan is set to enter the European market and is looking at projects in the UK and France.
“We are studying… We have two opportunities, one in Paris and one in London. We don’t buy unless we want to modify and refurnish it. We are a developer and enjoy being a developer. The project we are studying in Paris is a nice building in a very central area and we are studying to modify it,” he said without giving any further details.
With close to a billion dollars’ worth of projects recently announced and developments on the drawing board in Europe and elsewhere, Alhatti said the developer will seek funding and may look to go public in three years.
“Typical funding plan… Part of it is our equity, some bank finance and some from off-plan sales we area achieving… It is our plan to take Cayan public in three years, but not now.”
* Read the full one-on-one interview with Ahmed Alhatti online and in Arabian Business magazine on Sunday, May 31.For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.