Damac boss denies "stealing" Donald Trump from Nakheel

Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani admits US billionaire Donald Trump joined Damac after deal with Nakheel collapsed, but denies he was “stolen”
Damac boss denies
Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani.
By Beatrice Thomas
Sun 20 Apr 2014 09:50 AM

Damac boss Hussain Sajwani has denied suggestions the Dubai developer “stole” Donald Trump from arch-rival Nakheel for its Akoya project, telling London’s The Sunday Times newspaper that “we went to see him and he signed with us”.

US billionaire Trump had previously flagged plans for a Trump Tower on Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah man-made island project.

However, the project was axed along with many others after Nakheel, which overstretched itself with ambitious projects during Dubai’s property boom years, narrowly missed a 2009 sukuk default, forcing Abu Dhabi to step in with a last-minute lifeline.

Last year, Trump re-emerged in Dubai when he and Damac unveiled plans for the Akoya by Damac project – a 42m square foot master development, which is located off Umm Suqeim Road and features a Donald Trump-branded 18-hole PGA Championship golf course.

Sajwani told The Sunday Times: “We did not steal Trump. We did not steal him. His deal collapsed. We went to see him and he signed with us.”

In a wide-ranging interview, he also joked that “I will never appear on The Apprentice” in reference to Trump’s US reality television show.

He said he believed the Dubai market would be back to peak 2008 levels “in 12 to 18 months”.

“The market has grown bigger and faster than we thought in the past 12 months. It has surprised even us,” he told the Times.

“We are back to 2007 figures in some areas but we are still 10-15 percent off the peak”

Last month the ffirst residences in the Middle East designed by Trump were released for sale in Dubai.

The Trump Estates includes more than 100 luxury villas overlooking the Trump-branded golf course.

The interior of the villas has been influenced by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, as revealed by Arabian Business last month, and include materials and an open plan rarely used in Dubai.

Villas are priced from AED6.6m ($1.79m) up to more than AED50m, a Damac spokesperson confirmed.

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