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Wed 9 Oct 2013 10:05 AM

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Waterside projects are ‘unsustainable’ warns Damac boss

Emaar, Dubai Holding and Meydan Group have unveiled water-based developments at Cityscape, including plans to build the world’s largest crystalline manmade lagoon

Waterside projects are ‘unsustainable’ warns Damac boss
Crystal Lagoons project in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh is currently the largest manmade lagoon in the world

Investors should steer clear of developments built around waterways because they are unsustainable and ownership costs will only skyrocket, one of Dubai’s leading property executives has claimed.

Damac managing director Ziad El Chaar, who is developing a master community centred around a golf course, said waterways – which feature in countless Dubai developments - make no money and end up costing owners.

“I read two days ago of a master plan that was going to have the biggest lagoon in the world. You make no money out of the lagoon and eventually your community charges go through the roof,” El Chaar said in an interview with Arabian Business.

“So this is a non-sustainable development; we should be limiting ourselves putting on the market a development which will put a big burden on ... the buyer, the person living in Dubai, in terms of cost of ownership.

“You need to think of facilities that are easy to maintain and of facilities that generate income for you because if they generate an income then you, the person living in that community, you don’t need to contribute for that view, for that facility.”

The Dubai firm is developing Akoya by Damac, a massive 28 million square foot master development located off Umm Suqeim Road. The nearly 1000 residences will be centred around a Donald Trump-branded 18-hole PGA Championship golf course.

El Chaar said the golf course and attached golf club would generate significant revenue that would contribute to the maintenance of the course as well as other community services, helping to keep down ongoing ownership fees.

“[At Akoya by Damac] the cost of ownership will be mainly covered because of the golf course, because of the golf club, because of the spa, because of the retail centre. It’s a very competitive cost of ownership,” he said.

“If you buy a villa at Akoya, you’re overlooking one of the best golf courses in the world but you’re not paying for this view. Why? Because the golf course supports itself.”

Waterways are common features in many Dubai master developments, including three announced this month.

US-based developer Crystal Lagoons intends to build the world’s largest crystalline manmade lagoon in District One, a joint venture between Meydan Group and Sobha Group located at the Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City master development.

Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding also have signed a deal to develop The Lagoons, a 6 million sqm master planned city within MBR City. The mixed-use project, which had been stalled during the financial crisis, is planned to include a central business district, luxury hotels, schools and healthcare facilities.

“We are thus creating a vibrant destination that will not only address their lifestyle requirements of modern retail, entertainment and hospitality, but also connect them to their Arab heritage,” Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar and Dubai Holding CEO Ahmed Bin Byat said in a joint statement.

The Dubai government also announced last week it would build a $545m, 3km canal, from the Business Bay district to the Arabian Gulf, through Safa Park.

Several days later Dubai developers Meydan and Meraas said they would undertake a 40m sqft development as part of the ambitious new Dubai Canal Project, with residential development on both sides of the canal.

Meanwhile, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), which oversees the Jumeirah Lakes Towers master development, has filled in one of the community’s four signature lakes and has announced plans to reclaim half of another lake.

Other community facilities would replace the high-maintenance waterways, including a park, a basketball court and a mosque, DMCC said.

The company said in July the facilities would create more value for community members.

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Singh 6 years ago

Hmmm, sounds like someone trying to entice buyers to their own development.
I assume the flip side of his argument is that if the golf course loses money then the residents will be paying extra. By the way all but one golf club in Dubai loses money so I guess we should all steer clear from Akoya or whatever it will be called if it is ever built.
Given the choice to buy from Emaar or Damac, from reputations, delivery histories and customer satisfaction, the choice is obvious.

Robert 6 years ago

I disagree with Singh's comments. If a golf course loses money, the loss is incurred by the operator or owners of the golf course. It is never passed down to the residents who live in the surrounding areas. I live in Dubai and see the progress that Damac is making at AKOYA. From the flyover you can already see the holes taking shape and what looks like a lake. I think they announced the project only a few months back, that is good progress

Ahmed Ali 6 years ago

Emirates Hills owner here - and loving the view and Villa I have on the golf course. Even with road behind we still enjoy great life in our place off Montgomery Golf Course with lake view.