By Sarah Townsend
Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone launches scheme in Dubai Science Park scheme for crypto-community
A $300 million real estate development has launched in Dubai, touted as the world’s first ever scheme available for purchase using cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Dubai-registered Aston Property Ventures, a company owned by British lingerie businesswoman Michelle Mone and partner Doug Barrowman, unveiled the £250 million ($326 million) development in Dubai Science Park on Tuesday.
The 2.4 million square foot scheme is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2020, according to a statement from Aston.
It says the project is pitched at investors who profited from the Bitcoin boom and want to convert their digital assets into physical ones.
An initial 150 apartments will be available for purchase from a total 750, ranging from studio apartments priced at $169,000 - currently around 30 bitcoins - to two-bedroom apartments priced at $380,000, or around 85 bitcoins.
One bitcoin now costs around $4,200, however, in 2013, investors could purchase a Bitcoin for just over $20, meaning that just $600 worth of Bitcoin bought at that time would be enough to purchase a studio in the new development.
John R Harris & Partners architects have designed the scheme, with communal areas designed by Michelle Mone Interiors.
The development also has a retail element called the Plaza, comprising three floors of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and a supermarket.
Mone, founder of lingerie brand Ultimo, said: “I am thrilled to be launching a project of this scale as a step in the property development business. This is also a natural progression from the launch of Michelle Mone Interiors – bringing together my two passions in business for the first time; design and property.
“I have ensured, along with my business and life partner Doug, that our new development in Dubai offers exceptional homes to professionals and young families. The towers have been designed with community at its core and cater to the those looking for style, lifestyle and convenience, in a beautiful location.
“Doug and I are both trailblazers in our own business sectors, so of course we wanted this to be different, unique and exciting – not just in the world of property, but also tech. This is why it is the first-ever development to be priced in Bitcoin.”
Mone was quoted as telling Business Insider that many investors would be international, and would likely purchase the apartments as a buy-to-let investment because they offer a relatively high 9 percent annual yield.
Aston is part of the Knox Group, which manages a £1.5 billion portfolio of assets including commercial property.