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Omniyat to launch another Dh1bn hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay within 12 months

HONG KONG // Omniyat is set to launch another Dh1 billion hotel project in Business Bay in Dubai within the next 12 months, says Mahdi Amjad, its executive chairman.

The company is in talks to bring in another hotel operator to the city following the deal it announced with Langham Hospitality Group yesterday. The ME by Melia hotel, announced in 2013 and designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, is also due to open at The Opus building in 2017.

“We try to bring in new brands and attract a new audience to the city. And try to really add our touch to the skyline of Dubai. We owe that to the city,” Mr Amjad said.

The Dh1bn Langham Place launch brings the total value of Omniyat’s portfolio up to US$4.4bn.

This includes a number of projects under development, including Anwa at Dubai Maritime City, The Sterling apartment block at Business Bay, and the One at Palm Jumeirah, a joint venture with Drake & Scull.

Mr Amjad said Omniyat was in the final stages of enabling works at One at Palm Jumeirah, where the company recently listed Dubai’s most expensive apartment – an eight-bed property with 12 parking spaces for Dh180 million.

Tendering for the project’s main contractor has been completed and a contract will be awarded within the next 30 days, allowing for the project to be completed by the end of 2017.

We have gone from an empty piece of land with great potential to create one of the most prestigious residential buildings in the city,” he said. Prices at One at Palm Jumeirah start at Dh15m for a 350 square metre apartment. The Dh180m apartment is about 4,000 sq m in size.

“We have only 90 apartments on a site of close to 1m sq ft,” said Mr Amjad.

Elsewhere, work is already under way at Anwa, a development of 220 apartments and five town houses in Dubai Maritime City. Kele Contracting is the main contractor. It is also due for completion in 2017.

A contract for a main contractor for The Sterling, which will have 139 homes and a retail unit in two G+25 towers, is due to be awarded by the end of the year.

“We still have a few plots in Business Bay, but not a lot,” said Mr Amjad.

“We are very, very pleased with our investment in Business Bay. When we bought it, it was a military camp that had just been evicted back in 2004. We were very fortunate to be given that opportunity, and we made good use of that.”

According to property consultancy JLL, the global market for hotel investments is booming – transactions in the first half of the year rose 55 per cent to a record of $42bn from the year-earlier period. The market had been driven by a wealth of foreign investment, said JLL.

The biggest single deal was the $2bn purchase of a 64 per cent stake in the London-based Maybourne Hotel Group that includes The Berkeley and The Connaught hotels. It was bought by Qatar’s Constellation Hotels Group.

“Investors are looking for scale in what is becoming a very competitive market,” said Mark Wynne Smith, the chief executive of JLL’s hotels and hospitality division.

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