Emaar partners with Dubai South for new development near Al Maktoum airport

Emaar Properties and Dubai South are partnering to build Emaar South, a new 7-square-kilometre development near Al Maktoum International Airport, which will be financed by a mix of equity, debt and pre-sales, officials said.

Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, and Khalifa Al Zaffin, the executive chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South, declined to give a timeline or cost for the project, which will be split 50-50.

The first phase of the project will take about four years to complete, they said, without giving further details.

The project will feature six districts for more than 15,000 homes that include villas, town houses and apartments, an 18-hole championship golf course, community parks, retail facilities, schools, and three and four-star hotels.

The new project will be marketed at a “reasonable” price level, Mr Alabbar said.

“We would like to have a reasonable margin,” said Mr Alabbar. “Affordability is there while keeping our margins, and shareholders and partners, happy,” he said.

While developers would like to woo both local and international buyers, the project is a gated community and developers would like to attract residents who also work in the area, said Mr Al Zaffin.

Al Maktoum International Airport, which is being expanded to eventually handle 220 million passengers a year, is the main catalyst for the project, he added.

Emaar wants to award some building contracts for the project in the next quarter, said Fadi El Borno, the general manager of joint ventures at Emaar.

Emaar Properties plans to adopt a conservative debt policy as it undertakes big projects such as Emaar South.

“We want to be conservative when it comes to debt because you do not know the future anymore,” said Mr Alabbar. “You really have to do business on your toes and be cautious because the environment is changing all the time.”

The property developer is faring well considering current market conditions, he added.

“We are surprised we are doing better than last year, and I understand that people are not feeling what we feel.”

Dubai South is already planning to build a Dh25 billion middle-income residential project near Al Maktoum International Airport called The Villages, the company said last year. The first village, which will encompass 6,000 units including apartments, villas and town houses, is to be completed in 2019.

Dubai South plans to use a mixture of pre-sales, loans from banks and partnerships with developers to finance The Villages project, Mr Al Zaffin said. The timeline for the project will also depend on market conditions.

“If you have big demand you build, if you have low demand you slow down,” he said. “The market is up and down.”

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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