Exclusive: Sobha Group plans third Dubai project

Scheme to pioneer “affordable luxury” concept, announcement next year
Exclusive: Sobha Group plans third Dubai project
Sobha Group expects to deliver $4bn Sobha Hartland by Q4 2017
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 08 Sep 2016 12:02 PM

Developer Sobha Group is in advanced talks with a joint venture partner over its third residential scheme in Dubai, Arabian Business can reveal.

Sobha Group, which is constructing the residential communities Sobha Hartland and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One, is planning a third large-scale project to be unveiled next year.

The scheme is expected to pioneer a new residential subsector in Dubai that the developer has branded “affordable luxury”.

Separately, the group is planning another project elsewhere in the Middle East – expected to be located outside the GCC.

The Dubai scheme will be another large-scale residential-led scheme with additional components yet to be finalised, according to Raj Chinai, managing director at Sobha Group.

To give an idea of scale, the $10 billion District One project near Meydan Racecourse, which is being built by the Meydan Sobha joint venture, spans a 1,100-acre site and comprises more than 700 villas in phases one and two.

The $4 billion Sobha Hartland project, scheduled for delivery at the end of 2017 and also located at Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City off Al Khail Road, comprises 282 villas and 30 apartment blocks over 182-acres of land.

However, the location will be different, Chinai told Arabian Business in an interview this week. “One of the key strengths of District One and Sobha Hartland is their location, 3 kilometres from the centre of Downtown Dubai with Burj Khalifa being the landmark.

“That location advantage plays a huge part in the strength of these projects. When we think about future projects there will be no other location quite like this so clearly that advantage will change, however the focus on quality will not.

“We do not believe the new scheme needs to be near Downtown Dubai [to meet demand]. I think demand is contingent upon what the product actually is.

“Whether in Downtown or Dubailand, if there is going to be a saturation point of the same product, that is not going to move the deal. But if we are creating something a bit different in terms of the quality or luxury level and we think we can offer that unique differentiator in a location that doesn’t otherwise have it, that’s still a huge opportunity for us.” 

Chinai declined to reveal further details but said the scheme would have a greater emphasis on “affordability” than the two projects under construction at present.

“As with all of our projects, the focus will be on luxury, on residential, on quality – with quality the underlying theme,” he said. “However, we see that there is scope for a new ‘affordable luxury’ bracket.

“So our focus on offering luxury will be modified, to become more affordable as we think there is a growing appetite for this in Dubai.”

The deal with a joint venture partner is “more or less” formalised, Chinai added, but Sobha Group intends to release details towards the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter next year.

The other, non-GCC project is in the earlier stages but will also be delivered in a partnership model, Chinai said. An announcement is expected in mid-2017.

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