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Sun 13 Dec 2015 11:18 AM

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Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah set for LA-style ‘super villas’

Real estate agent claims a new breed of buyers of ultra high net worth individuals are planning lavish manions on the manmade island

Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah set for LA-style ‘super villas’
(AFP/Getty Images)

Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is set to see the introduction of lavish Los Angeles-style ‘super villas’, according to a leading property agent operating in the area.

Anne Ogilvie, Palm luxury sales specialist at Luxhabitat, said there are several European and Indian ultra high net worth individuals who make up a new breed of Palm Jumeirah buyers who want to make it their second home and are looking to outdo those already resident on the luxury manmade island.

"These end-users look to buy plots on the remaining unbuilt fronds in order to build 'super villas', akin to those in California or Miami. We expect a sizeable number of them to build and then introduce them to the secondary market," she added.

The trend for lavish villas and mansions has already proven to be controversial in Los Angeles and actress Jennifer Aniston was among a group of wealthy LA residents who allegedly spoke out against plans by developers to build massive sprawling home in the city's upmarkets areas, with some of the properties being built for Arab owners.

LA residents, including the 'Friends' actress, claim the massive homes, dubbed giga-mansions due to their size, are creating noise in the area, invading their privacy and endangering their homes by destabilising the hillside. Many have joined a homeowners' alliance and have complained to city officials.

Aniston, who is said to live in a $21 million, 8,500 square foot Bel Air mansion, reportedly told officials that the "very idea that a building of 90,000 square feet can be called a home... [seems] at the least a significant distortion of building code," the ABC TV station reported.

The Bel Air Homeowners Alliance was set up in May 2014, "with the purpose of highlighting health and safety concerns relating to large scale construction and the consequential number of hauling trips made by trucks to export thousands of cubic yards of soil from Bel Air."

Fred Rosen, the founder of the Ticketmaster empire, set up the alliance and in it's latest petition it claimed "the excavation and hauling of dirt has been the single largest risk to the health and safety of residents in Bel Air and is endured on a day to day basis on our city streets. The result of the digging and hauling is that we have literally thousands of unsafe truck trips up and down our narrow streets and roads placing residents in danger.'

Among the controversial giga-mansions currently under construction in Bel Air and Beverly Hills are a 80,000 sq ft estate for a Qatar national and a 85,000 sq ft mansion for a Saudi prince.

However, one obstacle to the lavish properties may be planning fees and laws on Palm Jumeirah. Late last year, Arabian Business reported Dubai homeowners may launch a legal campaign against Palm Jumeirah Nakheel after they were forced to scrap extension plans to their luxury villas after the master developer increased its application fees by up to 233 percent.

Under the terms and conditions laid out in Nakheel’s ‘Guidelines and Procedures for Villa Extension Applications’, residents are required to pay an application fee as part of the approval process before they can start construction.

Previously, the fees were up to AED600/square foot in Palm Jumeirah. However, residents in September 2014 were informed that the government-owned developer had increased the fees by up to 233 percent, effective immediately, and any applicants whose paperwork had expired would be required to reapply under the new terms and conditions and pay the higher fees.

“This means that for an extension of 1,000 square foot you will end up paying over $100,000 to Nakheel. For what? We have been told that the decision came from the board and that they took it overnight and it was effective immediately,” a Nakheel resident said.

On Palm Jumeirah the increases have been even steeper, increasing from AED600 to AED2000 per square foot, an increase of 233 percent. This puts the fee for a 1,000 square foot extension at over half a million dollars, even before a single brick of construction has been paid for.

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