Omniyat plans $1bn project pipeline for 2017-18

Plans include super-prime hotel on Dubai Water Canal at Business Bay
Omniyat plans $1bn project pipeline for 2017-18
The new projects will swell Omniyat’s already substantial Dubai portfolio, which comprises AED16 billion ($4.3 billion) of schemes either completed, in construction or about to enter construction.
By Sarah Townsend
Mon 12 Dec 2016 11:10 AM

Dubai-based developer Omniyat Group will announce an AED5 billion ($1.36 billion) project pipeline over 2017-18, including an ultra-luxury hospitality scheme on the new Dubai Water Canal, according to the company’s founder.

The new projects will swell Omniyat’s already substantial Dubai portfolio, which comprises AED16 billion ($4.3 billion) of schemes either completed, in construction or about to enter construction.

Its portfolio includes the One Palm luxury residential scheme under construction on Palm Jumeirah, as well as several existing schemes in the Dubai Water Canal/Business Bay area, such as the flagship Opus mixed-use building designed by pioneering late architect Zaha Hadid.

The new package of projects is to be announced from the first half of 2017, Mahdi Amjad, executive chairman and founder of Omniyat, told Arabian Business in an interview last week.

It will include an “ultra-prime” hotel-led scheme on the Business Bay section of the newly constructed canal.

The scheme will also comprise serviced residential apartments and high-end food and beverage (F&B) outlets, and is the largest canal-facing project to date, with over 220 metres of waterfront on the widest part of the canal, Amjad said.

He declined to reveal further details such as the name of the hotel operator and how many rooms the scheme contains.

“We are preparing to announce an additional AED5 billion of projects that we will be launching in 2017-2018,” Amjad said.

“We have a hospitality product that we will be announcing in the first half of 2017. This will be an extremely unique offering – one of our ultra-prime projects, which will be a mix of hospitality and a serviced residential component.

“We have not announced this yet, it will be formally launched in early 2017. It is a very lovely, beautiful project and one of our really top-end hospitality schemes.”

The pipeline also contains projects targeting the midmarket segment in locations such as Dubailand and around Sheikh Zayed Road, Amjad revealed, although he said these were at an earlier stage.

“We are looking to create the same premium offering for the mid-segment of the market and are examining opportunities here. That is more in the next 4-5-year horizon, though,” he said.

“We want to carry on producing unique experiences in cities like Dubai.”

Financing is in place for the next five years, Amjad told Arabian Business, adding that Omniyat has no plans at present for an initial public offering (IPO) or any other major capital raising project.

“We are in talks with our banks, and every year we have our loan book that rolls over and produces new loans; we have our own equity and investor partnerships, and we have our own [reserves] so I think we have been quite conservative when it comes to our business model and funding – we have a very low gearing in our balance sheet and it will be easy to borrow over the next five years as and when is required,” he said.

“Then, as the Omniyat portfolio is delivered, it will release a lot of equity that we will reinvest back into [Dubai]. We are a big believer in the city and this is not a short-term game for us.”

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