Aqaar CEO Rami Dabbas tells The Big Project phase one construction of the AED 2.7 billion Ajman 1 project will be delivered at the end of 2011, however being realistic about the current real estate market has led the developer to re-evaluate phase two
“There is no place for exaggeration or stubbornness, there is only reality,” Aqaar CEO Rami Dabbas tells The Big Project, having revealed that phase two of Ajman 1 – the developer’s flagship project – may be re-evaluated.
The Ajman-based real estate and property development company started infrastructure works on phase two of its Ajman 1 residential, commercial and hospitality complex in April 2008. Pilings are complete, but Dabbas says the scope may be reviewed from initial plans for three 26-27 storey office towers, a convention centre and a four-star business hotel with serviced apartments.
“The market is correcting itself, so we will complete the project the right way. After we’ve finished phase one we will look at the hotel.
“The location of the project is very strategic, there are so many hotels under construction in Ajman so I believe there will be demand for a four-star hotel with proximity to the beach, but we will finish phase one before getting involved in another market.”
On the other hand, Dabbas claims there have been no delays encountered on the AED one billion first phase. With finishing works including cladding underway, the development comprising 12 freehold residential towers is on track for delivery at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, the group’s Almeria Bay project, which was launched in 2008 deemed “a new landmark for Ajman”, is also being reviewed by the developer based on the “current market scenario”. The project involves land reclamation to make space for five precincts; Icon (residential), Lifestyle (residential), Hotel and two marinas.
“We haven’t finished the design, we have to re-evaluate and be realistic – everything is flexible.”
But Jordanian-born Dabbas has lived in the UAE for 14 years and remains positive about the emirates’ market potential.
“Over the past few years there have been so many changes to the real-estate market, but one of the best things to come out of the last two years is that we got rid of the speculators. They are bad for the market,” he asserts.
The majority of Aqaar’s clients are end users.
“People are starting to realise that real estate is a long-term investment and it is here to stay,” he adds.
Furthermore, Dabbas is hopeful about Ajman’s tourism prospects: “The emirate has beautiful beaches; it is just waiting for someone to take advantage of that”.
Civil engineer Rami Dabbas started his carrier with Dar Al Handasah (Shair & Partners) in Amman and London, and later completed a management training programme with Arab Bank.
He joined Emaar Properties (Dubai) in 1998, but after six years he left his role as director of projects to take up his current post as Aqaar Properties LLC CEO in Ajman. He also works as head of real estate development for Ajman Development & Investment Authority (ADIA).