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Sat 27 Oct 2007 04:00 AM

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Limitless axes $11bn Russian development

EXCLUSIVE: Dubai developer says Moscow real estate project did not fit company's business model.

Dubai property developer, Limitless, is no longer going ahead with plans made with a Russian firm to build a massive real estate project in Moscow.

In December last year, the company announced a joint venture with Russian investment and development company, Coalco, to build a US $11 billion (AED 40 billion) mixed-use development on the outskirts of Moscow.

The project was to be called Great Domodedevo, and at the time was billed as the largest planned by an international developer anywhere in the world.

The development was set to be spread over 180 million square metres and be made up of residential and commercial components as well as educational, recreational and entertainment facilities.

Limitless has said that, ultimately, the project ‘didn't fit its business model'.

"We will naturally consider many projects, some of which will fit our strategy and some of which will not," said Rebecca Rees, public relations, Limitless.

"We continually analyse and assess all of our markets, projects and partners with a fine tooth comb to ensure that we can deliver with distinction."

Coalco still intends to go ahead with the project without Limitless, but the size and scope has since been scaled down.

"We couldn't stop this project, so we are carrying on with it," said Vevver Befchuk, planning manager, Coalco.

"We haven't yet made a decision on how exactly we'll proceed with the project. We might create a joint venture with other companies - we tried to do this with Limitless, but it didn't happen. But the size of the total area to be constructed will be around 34 million m2."

Despite backing out of the partnership, Limitless still sees Russia as a key development market.

"Limitless has already confirmed Russia as one of its key future markets. We are currently studying a major opportunity there as part of our global strategy. However, it is too early to disclose specific details," added Rees.

Earlier this month, Limitless announced that it will manage and design the construction of the $11 billion Arabian Canal - the largest civil engineering project ever undertaken in the Middle East.

The company is also developing Downtown Jebel Ali.

Its projects outside the region include Al Wasl in Saudi Arabia, Halong Star in Vietnam and Bidadi in India.

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