Big Project Middle East talks to The Luxe Developers’ Siddharta Banerji and Shubam Aggarwal about the vision behind ‘Oceano’ and aligning with the growth of Ras Al Khaimah
It could be said that it would be counterintuitive to start a company in the midst of a global pandemic. Yet, this is exactly what Shubam Aggarwal, Chairman and Co-Owner and Siddharta Banerji, Managing Director and Co-Owner of The Luxe Developers, did.
Impressed at how well the UAE government dealt with such a crisis and kept the economy moving, the duo, boasting a track record that includes a number of successful ventures, saw an opportunity for growth in the real estate sector.
Aggarwal says, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Arab Emirates government took the lead in economic recovery, making it easier for businesses to contribute to the country’s growth. We recognised this potential for growth, especially at a time when governments around the world were struggling to revive local economies. In contrast, the UAE government was focused on creating an open, welcoming and competitive business environment. So, we worked closely with various entities in the UAE, including Ras Al Khaimah, to make our vision for Oceano a reality.”
This work reached a new milestone in June 2023, when the UAE-headquartered real estate development firm The Luxe Developers broke ground on Oceano, an upscale twin-tower waterfront development located on Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah.
The decision to invest in Ras Al Khaimah reflects the emirate’s significant developments in recent years, says Aggarwal, pointing out that the real estate market is seeing impressive growth due to new policies and a focus on diversifying the economy. “According to the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, property transactions in the first half of 2022 exceeded US $1.09bn, with major investments from companies such as Wynn Resorts, Nobu Hotels, Aldar, Dubai Investments, and Abu Dhabi National Hotels,” adds Aggarwal.
“Given the high level of investment and positive outlook for the real estate market, we wanted to ensure that The Luxe Developers brand name was included in the mix, and that we capitalised on the demand for luxury properties in Ras Al Khaimah, particularly on Al Marjan Island, from investors in the UAE, the wider Middle East region, and beyond.”
The Vision for Oceano
The project, valued at over $408mn, will be located on a unique corner plot on Al Marjan Island and spread across a built-up area (BUA) of 79,000sqm and will consist of 206 units. Stretching over 18 storeys, the development will include one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, six penthouses, and two exclusive sky villas, with access to private pools, as well as indoor and outdoor entertaining areas with unobstructed views across the Arabian Gulf.
Banerji remarks, “As a company, our ethos has always been to deliver an impeccable experience, elevated from anything on the market. We have always looked to break barriers and deliver beyond expectations in everything we’ve done. Oceano optimises this mindset by delivering a project unlike anything seen before, tapping into our vision for the future of luxury residential living.”
To achieve this, Banerji says they worked with best-in-class architects and designers, who will be involved in this project until the last keys are handed over, to ensure Oceano stands out as the premier residential development in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. “We fully expect the impeccable design and world-class amenities to attract regional and international investors, and have already seen high levels of interest from buyers eager to secure their property,” notes Banerji.
Seeking to Redefine Luxury
In terms of what the development has to offer, Banerji says residents will enjoy access to a host of amenities, including an exclusive residents-only luxury spa, a cigar lounge, a library, an infinity pool connecting the two towers, a state-of-the-art gym, a yoga room, a children’s play area. At the same time, they will also be able to take advantage of a chauffeur’s lounge.
“The entrance to the development alone underscores our commitment to luxury with a 14,000sqft lobby with its own indoor lobby garden. We have also included a floor dedicated to F&B, retail and leisure, where residents can access exclusive dining options, high-end boutiques and other leisure pursuits,” he continues.
Banerji adds that residents will have access to lush, green gardens, a resort-style swimming pool, a dedicated children’s pool, and a private beach, all of which add to the serenity and luxury of the living experience they aim to provide. “Residents can also access a private jetty to moor their yachts, a concierge and 24-hour security,” remarks Banerji.
From a design and engineering perspective, Banerji says they are working with Dewan Architects + Engineers. “Together, we have been responsible for developing Oceano’s unique design, incorporating free-flowing glass facades and minimalist frames, and with each floor rotated on different planes, every resident has a unique and uninterrupted panoramic view of the Arabian Gulf,” Banerji states.
In addition to the vast array of amenities, Aggarwal notes Oceano’s exclusive location offers residents privacy and seclusion, which is a prerequisite of their buyer’s needs. So far, Banerji says they have been impressed by the interest in Oceano, and since launching in June, they have already sold over 50% of the property, including many of the marquee units.
“Rather than wait to be asked by investors, Oceano has been created to address all possible needs and wants from potential investors. From the vast array of world-class amenities and luxury fittings to the unique views from every apartment and the utmost in privacy. All of these have been considered to ensure we are not only meeting the needs of potential buyers but exceeding them,” says Banerji.
Aligning with the growth of Ras Al Khaimah
Aggarwal is optimistic about the growth trajectory of Ras Al Khaimah, pointing out that a number of factors are contributing to the surge in property demand, all predominantly focused on the emirate’s tourism and infrastructure development. “Many new properties have come online in recent years, with many more planned,” states Aggarwal.
The push towards cultivating tourism within the emirate is not only palpable but also unprecedented, and Wynn Resorts has been an example of this following their confirmation of having the first casino resort in the UAE coming to Ras Al Khaimah, to be called Wynn Al Marjan Island. Aggarwal says this has undoubtedly contributed to the tremendous demand for real estate within Ras Al Khaimah.
“Tourism, more generally, is having a positive impact as well. RAKTDA has recently announced a record number of visitors in the first half of the year. All of these visitors have the opportunity to see Ras Al Khaimah first-hand, with many, in turn, looking to invest. A fantastic lifestyle, excellent value, and positive potential returns are luring them,” Aggarwal continues.
Oceano was created with all this mind, says Aggarwal, with the aim to facilitate the demand for the highest levels of luxury within the real estate market in Ras Al Khaimah. “We are building a unique development, unlike anything the emirate has seen before from a residential perspective. Something that complements the increasing number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals looking to invest in Ras Al Khaimah and those looking to make a home there,” he points out, adding that Oceano’s proximity to the forthcoming multi-billion-dollar integrated Wynn Resort also makes it stand out among other Ras Al Khaimah and UAE real estate developments, underscored by the popularity and interest already shown in the development.
Aggarwal says that the diversification of the economy has also seen an influx of potential new homeowners to facilitate new jobs in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, technology, and logistics. “These, plus government initiatives and incentives, are all positively impacting demand for real estate in the emirate,” Aggarwal comments.
Headwinds in the constructions sector
As with any endeavour, Banerji remains pragmatic at potential challenges in the development of Oceano. “The construction industry is undoubtedly facing headwinds in several areas, including rising interest rates and supply chain challenges concerning construction materials. We are, of course, not immune to either of these. However, we have carefully selected our suppliers to ensure they can deliver the highest quality materials and ensure they are with us at precisely the time we need them,” he says.
Banerji adds that many of their investors are “cash rich” so interest rates have a negligible impact on their purchases. “Keeping pace with demand will be one of our biggest challenges, but so far, we are facilitating this well.”
Weighing in, Aggarwal points out that the Ras Al Khaimah government’s efforts in diversifying the economy and investing in tourism and hospitality are reaping massive benefits for the emirate.
“This has led to many companies making multi-billion-dirham investments that are positioning Ras Al Khaimah on a global stage, subsequently causing interest and demand in the real estate market to reach unprecedented levels,” he explains.
Sustainability and looking to the future
Although this is Luxe Developers’ first project, Banerji says that sustainability and encouraging sustainable living is a key component of our development, especially as this will be the first of many.
“We decided to work with Dewan Architects + Engineers due to their reputation as one of the top architects worldwide and their dedication to creating sustainable architecture with innovative and distinctive design. Our focus will be on sustainability, and we will highlight and demonstrate this as we reach each development milestone,” Banerji says.
As they are in the early stages of reinforcing their name within the UAE’s dynamic construction sector, Aggarwal says they are already evaluating new opportunities and hope to make another announcement later this year.
“The level of demand we’ve witnessed has made it an easy decision to continue to develop in the UAE. However, we are very aware of the real estate developments that are taking place around the GCC, such as Saudi Arabia, so we will continue to assess every opportunity that presents itself,” concludes Aggarwal.