Al Maryah Central mall developer seeks tower funds

The developer behind the planned US$1 billion Al Maryah Central mall in Abu Dhabi is searching for investors to help finance the construction of two towers next to the shopping and entertainment complex.

Gulf Related, a joint venture between Gulf Capital and the US developer Related Companies, has said that it is on the lookout for two institutions or high-net-worth individuals to help fund the high rises, to be built at either end of the 2.3-million-square foot mall.

Speaking at a press tour of the mall, which is expected to open in Autumn 2018, Kevin Ryan, Gulf Related’s chief operating officer and managing director, said it expected in the coming weeks to launch marketing for the two towers, one of 35 storeys and the other of 42.

According to Mr Ryan, the residences at Al Maryah Central will be made up of 234 high-end one, two and three-bedroom apartments in a tower that will include direct walkway access to the new shopping mall and is expected to be completed in 2019.

The second tower, which is expected to be operated by W Hotels, is to include about 360 rooms as well as 3,900 square feet of meeting rooms and a 3,200 square feet ballroom.

Mr Ryan said that he expected to be able to find investors to fund the two projects as well as buyers for the apartments, despite the slowing Abu Dhabi market, because there was a lack of high-quality investment product in the capital.

Last week, the property broker Core Savills said apartment values in Abu Dhabi are set to fall by 7 per cent this year while prime and mid prime villa values could fall by at least 15 per cent as the city continues to feel the effects of the global slump in oil prices.

“Despite a softening in the Abu Dhabi market we are confident that we can find investors to fund the development of these two towers,” Mr Ryan told The National.

“We succeeded in finding a collection of more than 10 high-net-worth and institutional investors to fund the development of Al Maryah Central in this way, which was a lot more complicated, and we think we can fund the towers with the backing of just two investors.”

Mr Ryan declined to say how much he was hoping to raise or how much the new apartments would eventually cost.

In September, Taiwan’s largest listed property developer, Farglory, said it would resume work on its 153,000-square-metre Richard Rogers-designed Maryah Plaza, which it said would be the first major housing development on Al Maryah Island. Farglory had hoped to achieve off-plan prices of Dh3,000 per square foot but had to mothball the project for 18 months while it went through a redesign to make it more affordable to buyers.

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter