Deadline set for Ivory Towers explanation

Regulator gives developers Sokook until next week to explain contracts fiasco.
Deadline set for Ivory Towers explanation
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Tue 05 Aug 2008 09:16 AM

Dubai’s real estate regulator (Rera) has given Saudi developer Sokook until next Tuesday to explain why investors in its Ivory Tower project were told to stop payments, leading to the termination of contracts.

Hundreds of investors had purchased off-plan units in the 20-storey residential unit launched in 2005, according to Gulf News.

Last month Sokook promised Rera that construction of Ivory Tower would finally begin on November 1 after a dispute over a bank guarantee with Tecom - master developer of International Media Production Zone (IMPZ) - is resolved.

Sokook is still cancelling investor contracts, blaming investors for not paying their monthly installments.

However, in letters to investors dated on about February 19, Sokook wrote that until construction began, “all payments in the meantime are still postponed”, contradicting itself.

Furious investors in the project have now set up an ‘investors group’ which they hope will force Sokook to reinstate their contracts or refund investments at current market values.

There are currently about 30 investors in the group and they have appointed a lawyer.

Investors have said that they want their contracts reinstated or accept refunds on their investments at the current market value.

“They are offering 10 per cent at best and our money back. The price for IMPZ per square foot has tripled since we bought into the project,” one investor told the newspaper.

Rera has also warned other master developers and sub developers that it will take action if they fail to fulfill contractual obligations.

“A developer who feels a project has been held up due to delays in the handover of plots by the master developer should contact us,” Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Rera, said on Monday.

“We will then mediate between the two parties and come to a solution. We will talk to the master developer and try to find out why the project has been delayed. We will certainly take action to regulate the market,” he added.

Rera has sent notices to developers instructing them not to cancel agreements or force investors to accept cancellation terms. “No developer has yet come back to us informing about any cancellations.”

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