Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat— Cityscape 2013, the Middle East’s largest and most influential real estate event, kicked off in Dubai on Tuesday. The event, which was formally opened by Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, takes place at a time when all sectors of the Dubai real estate market are on an upswing. Property prices and rents are increasing, new mega projects have been launched and developments that were previously stalled have been revived
Luxury private developers, DAMAC Properties, have a strong presence at the annual event, showcasing the ambitious Akoya development project, which will cover 28 million square feet of land, and has industry insiders calling it the “Beverly Hills” of Dubai.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, DAMAC Managing Director, Ziad El Chaar said that the demand for the thirty billion dollar project has been “spectacular”, emphasizing that this success is more than just about the property market’s recovery.
“The demand for Dubai, as a city, is not only tied to the properties market. This is just a derivative of the demand for Dubai as a city.” El Chaar told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“From the start, Dubai had a very strategic geographic location, coupled with the leadership and vision to benefit from that location, from the building of the Free Zones to the business services to logistic hubs. Today, you have an airport in a city that is only 4,500 square kilometers; this is the second busiest airport in the world. 53 million people passed through the Dubai airport in 2012, 10 million of whom are here on tourism, and this is a huge number for such a small city,” the DAMAC Managing Director said.
Regarding future projects, El Chaar told Asahrq Al-Awsat: “We’re one of the biggest private players on the market and we look for opportunities where we can always add our luxury touch.”
Nakheel Properties, which made a net profit of AED 1.77 billion in the first nine months of 2013, are also upbeat about a number of projects highlighted at this year’s event, including plans to build four man-made islands that were originally developed as part of the abandoned Palm Deira in Dubai, as well as two developments for Palm Jumeirah.
Nakheel chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the feedback at Cityscape, “has been excellent”. Lootah emphasized that the recreational facilities planned will enhance the value of the Palm Jumeirah projects.
“With regard to Deira, the three islands are in the center of a densely populated area, and we are confident it’s going to be a successful project, “he added.
The Deira Island will be served by approximately 1,400 retail units and restaurants including a night market, plus a 250-room hotel, a 30,000 capacity amphitheater, and other attractions.
The Nakheel chairman went on to say that other new projects are being evaluated based on their commercial potential and position.
Regarding the possibility of expanding beyond the UAE, Lootah told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Not at the present time, we have plenty of opportunities here in Dubai”.
Cityscape Dubai is being held between 8-10 October 2013 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.