First Jumeirah Beach Residence owners move in today

DUBAI — Dubai Properties is handing over the first apartments in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) to their new owners today. Other apartment owners will move in according to a staggered handover schedule of 50 units a day over a 12-week period, Dubai Properties' CEO, Mohamed Binbrek, said yesterday.

By Lucia Dore (Assistant Editor, Business)

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Published: Wed 28 Mar 2007, 8:49 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:55 PM

Dubai Properties, a member of the government-owned Dubai Holdings, is the property developer behind the mega development, the company's first residential freehold project. The 1.7 kilometre waterfront development has a total of 6,916 residential units in 36 towers, 400 shops and four hotels.

For logistical reasons, the handover must be carefully planned and coordinated to enable the necessary paperwork to be completed, Binbrek told reporters on the eve of the handover.

"We are confident we will meet this schedule," he said, adding: "There was only a very minimal chance of not meeting the deadline". He even suggested there was a possible "upside".

The biggest challenge to meeting the timeframe is "snagging," he said. A consultant has been brought in to assess whether the finish is up to the required standard.

Jumeirah Beach Residence will be the first development in Dubai to have tower associations and master communities, in line with the upcoming Condominium Law. These will be managed by IDAMA, the project management company, said COO Dubai Properties and CEO of IDAMA, Billy Daly. There is also a sophisticated Building Management System, which connects all utilities, and a centralised Waste Management System. Service charges will total Dh9.5 per square foot, he said.

Initially, JBR was to be completed by the end of last year but logistical problems and a tight construction sector caused delays. "There were a lot of challenges," said Nabil Alkhaja, executive project manager, Dubai Properties. "Nowhere in the Middle East was such a large project started in one go." Availability and pricing of construction material such as steel, gaining access to the site, and labour availability, were the main factors affecting the development's progress, he said.

Among the logistical difficulties was that of having so many cranes on site at the same time, said Alkhaja. "This is one of the lessons." To coordinate the large number of cranes used on the site — 40 towers, with eight cranes per tower — a study was undertaken to determine how and when to operate the cranes, he explained.

Binbrek also allays concerns that Dubai's already overcrowded roads will be unable to cope with the 30,000 more residents that will live in the congested Marina area. He said that a traffic impact study was undertaken, in association with a consultant and Dubai Municipality, to assess the demands that will be put on Dubai's road transport system and to ensure that it has the capacity to cope. "The calculations have been done," he said.

"We are confident that there will be ease of access to JBR," he said. The bridge at intersection 5 1/2 will capture the traffic from JBR as well as the Marina, and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will be widening the Grosvenor Bridge to three lanes.

In response to those investors who are disgruntled about late delivery of their units and a lack of compensation, Binbrek said: "We sympathise with the predicament of investors but the developer has not made a corresponding gain." If there was a gain, he continued, "then maybe this should be passed on". This was not the case, however.

He also said that "people have been compensated vis a vis the contract", because upgrades have been undertaken. He cited improvements to the finish in the kitchens, the addition of a shower enclosure to the master bedroom and an enhancement of the whole boulevard area, for example.

Of the 6,916 residential units, 300 remain unsold. It is likely that these will be leased, said Iyad Alaska, design and development director, Dubai Properties. Some of the towers have been sold to single investors, and one tower will be leased by Dubai Properties.

The impact that such a volume of residential units will have on Dubai's overheated property market is unknown, but there is an expectation that the increased supply will help to exert downward pressure on rents.

However, Walter Hart director, project sales and marketing, at Better Homes, said that although the project is big in numbers, it is not in relative terms. "It is not sufficient to sap up demand," and added: "It will be a very interesting period."

It will be very hard to make a prediction of what will happen to rents, he said. "We will have to wait and see what the outcome will be and what rentals will be sustainable in the area, especially in Dubai Marina."

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