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DIRC develops local stance with Al Qudra joint venture

Riding high on the opportunities created by the local real estate boom is common among the many property developers that have set up shop in the Gulf. Obaid Mohammad Al Salami, general manager, Dubai Investments Real Estate Company (DIRC), talks to Conrad Egbert about the company's projects, its choice of site teams and a new development partnership with Abu Dhabi-based Al Qudra.

Al Salami believes that the fledgling partnership between DIRC and Al Qudra will strengthen the firm?s ability to undertake UAE development projects.
Al Salami believes that the fledgling partnership between DIRC and Al Qudra will strengthen the firm?s ability to undertake UAE development projects.

What is the total value of projects that DIRC is currently working on?

We have projects worth a combined US $600 million (AED2.2 billion) in hand at the moment. Some are under construction, while some developments are yet to be started.

By the end of next year I believe we'll have about $4 billion worth of projects in hand.

Could you tell us about your latest project?

It’s called the Ritaj, and it is worth about $245 million. It is a residential development located in Dubai Investments Park. The project consists of more than 2,200 housing units, including studios, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments. It will also feature a fully equipped community centre with restaurants, cafes, shops, a supermarket, a clinic, a pharmacy, a mosque, and entertainment and recreational facilities including swimming pools and landscaped gardens.

We have appointed Robust Contracting as main contractor. Construction on the project has already started with a completion date set for the end of 2008.

Dubai-based Al Jabal Engineering Consultancy has been appointed as the consultant. And, at the moment, Edara is in the running for the project management package.

What other projects do you have in the pipeline?

We have a $136 million offices project, which is going to be a purely commercial development located opposite the JW Marriott Courtyard in the Green Community. We haven’t named it as yet and it will be similar to a small business park.

For this development, we have awarded the main contract to SNC Lavalin and construction will begin by the end of this month or the beginning of January 2007. It will take a year and half to be completed. And Al Jabal Engineering Consultancy is the consultant.

Then we also have the country club, which is worth about $82 million. It will be called something along the lines of the ‘Dubai Premier Club’.

The designer is a Singapore-based company and the locally based Dewan Consulting is the consultant. Al Qudra is developing the project along with us. 3D is the project manager.

We will tender for this project by February 2007 with construction expected to kick off in April 2007. It is expected to be completed in one and a half years.

Are you planning to develop properties in emirates other than Dubai as well?

We have a few projects that we’re looking at in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman.

The Sharjah development is pretty much finalised. It is going to be a 210,000m2 industrial area, which will consist of offices, warehouses and labour camps.

What about your partnership with Al Qudra?

We have partnered with Al Qudra Development Company and are planning to develop a few projects around the Emirates. We are going to establish a real estate company together with Al Qudra, which will soon be offically announced.

At the moment, Al Qudra has projects within the UAE as well as in places like Morocco and Libya. I believe that we are going to be doing a lot of work together in the future.

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