Damac eyes London regeneration sites for second major scheme

First site, the 50-storey Aykon tower, due to start construction this year
Damac eyes London regeneration sites for second major scheme
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 31 Mar 2016 12:58 PM

Damac Properties is in talks to develop a major regeneration site in London – its second UK site after the Aykon residential scheme in Vauxhall.

The Dubai-based developer plans to start building the 50-storey Aykon residential tower this year in the Nine Elms area south of the River Thames.

It is believed to be also eyeing around 30 development sites elsewhere in the capital and has held talks with the Greater London Authority, which is working with local councils to bring those sites to market.

According to the Financial Times, Damac aims to form a joint venture with a local company to buy and develop a site with a mix of residential and commercial property.

“We want to do a master plan like Akoya in a suburb of London,” chairman Hussain Sajwani was quoted as saying, referring to the company’s Akoya Oxygen development in Dubai.

“We were very much welcomed in London and things are moving forward...We want to be among the three biggest property developers in London within five years. We are there for the long haul.”

Damac declined to reveal the targeted shortlist of locations for the new project when questioned by Arabian Business. It said its development team is in continuous discussions over opportunities in many countries, but cannot disclose specifics until a deal is confirmed.

London mayor Boris Johnson has identified at least 30 ‘opportunity areas’ across the capital – significant swathes of underused ‘brownfield’ (previously developed) sites in need of investment and regeneration.

Among them are Nine Elms south of the river, Old Oak Common in northwest London, the Lower Lea Valley in north-east London and Croydon in south London.

Sajwani also told the FT the company would adapt its offering to the local market and regulatory requirements. If Labour candidate Sadiq Khan is elected in London’s May mayoral election, 50 percent of homes would have to be “affordable”, Damac said.

“We want to add value to the city. We will construct social housing and a whole range of products,” Sajwani added.

He reportedly brushed off concerns over the uncertain state of the market, citing Damac’s network of international buyers in 120 countries. “For me to sell 300 apartments is a very, very simple matter,” he was quoted as saying.

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