By Shane McGinley
Saudi developer of the delayed Dubailand project restarted construction 'slowly' during the summer
Saudi master developer Tanmiyat is pushing ahead with its Living Legends project in Dubailand and is aiming to complete the first 200 villas by the end of 2011 and three apartment towers within the next three years, an executive told Arabian Business.
“We have restarted construction, slowly, in the summer. We are on site now with the contractors. We are going to build the first 200 villas,” said Dr. Wan Muhamad Hasni Wan Sulaiman, advisor in charge at Tanmiyat.
Of the 500 villas planned at the site, Sulaiman said the first 200 are scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.
He added that the three towers, consisting of around 400 apartments, would be completed within the next three years. The project will have five phases in total and their progress “depends on the market” he added. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2013.
Sulaiman admitted that ongoing construction on the much delayed AED2.7bn ($735m) project was dependent on whether investors were still willing and able to continue with the project.
“Of course we slowed down a bit as the recession hit. As far as construction [is concerned] it all depends on the customers if they are really coming back and want to continue. Honestly a big [construction] push is not going to be an easy subject now but we are pushing ahead with it,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Cityscape Global real estate exhibition in Dubai, of which Tanmiyat is one of the chief sponsors, he said “a lot of investors ran away and have no confidence in the market after the crisis. The key question is how to bring them back to the market.”
Sulaiman said around 30 percent of investors on the project were planning to continue and they were speaking to the remainder of investors about their ongoing plans. “We cannot replace them… I believe it will take a bit more time,” he said.
Arabian Business has received correspondence from several investors on the project, who report that they have struggled to get answers regarding progress on the units they have purchased at Living Legends.
“The problem is that Tanmiyat have lost all credibility and investors are not paying any more until they see results. Our preference now is for RERA cancellation and complete refunds,” one investor told Arabian Business recently.
The Living Legends project covers a surface area of 2.296m square metre in Dubailand, on the outskirts of Dubai and is expected to include a golf course designed by the Swiss golfer Peter Harradine.
Arabian Business was unable to contact representatives from the Living Legends investor group for a comment at the time of going to press.