Dubai developer bemoans approval delays

Indigo Properties' project awaiting go ahead for six months

Picture for illustrative purposes only.
Picture for illustrative purposes only.

A prominent Dubai developer has claimed the number of developments recently announced in the Emirate has caused a backlog in the approvals process and months of delays.

Indigo Properties had been planning to launch its new Zen master development near Arabian Ranches in May but is still unsure whether it will be approved in time for the annual Cityscape real estate event in September.

Director Anand Lakhiani told Arabian Business the project already had been awaiting approval for six months.

He said the high volume of new developments and the amendment of numerous regulations since the 2008-09 property crash had caused delays.

“The approvals process has taken longer than estimated; there are too many authorities and approvals that are required for a community development,” Lakhiani said.

“There’s a lot of projects they have to look at and that’s slowing down the process. There’s too much happening.”

More than a dozen master developments have been announced in the past 18 months as Dubai recovers from the downturn that saw property prices crash by up to 60%.

Property values have risen more than 30% since the beginning of 2013, while an expected surge in population, mostly due to the Emirate hosting the World Expo in 2020, has also led to forecasts of a housing shortage unless tens of thousands of new residences are built.

“The sudden influx [of new developments] has come,” Lakhiani said. “It was a complete lack for four years.

“In the last 15 months, everybody [has announced new projects]; it’s slowing down everything.”

Lakhiani said developers including himself were moving away from high-rise towers to master developments due to the cost of land in already densely populated areas such as Dubai Marina and Downtown.

However, the large projects also are clogged the approvals system.

“[Zen] is the first [master development] for us, so we’re learning as we go along,” he said.

However, Lakhiani said the delays were not costing Indigo Properties financially.

He was confident once construction of the project had begun, scheduled for early 2015, there would be no further delays, and it would be completed by early 2017.

Zen, a $408mn project with 350 villas, is expected to be a resort-style community with running streams, mediation nooks and at least 10 small parks. 

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