Site Visit: Gemini Splendor, MBR City

Gemini Splendor, a G+8 structure in Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid City, and Gemini Group’s maiden real estate project, is on course to complete before the end of the year

Site Visits

Real estate development in the Dubai market is proving to be a lucrative business for many; the emirate is seeing a large number of new players entering the market. One of these new arrivals is Gemini Group, which previously had interests in the oil and gas industry. The company has launched its maiden project in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, adjacent to Sobha Hartland.

The two-year-old real estate firm’s Gemini Splendor is a G+8 building comprising 134 apartments and six retail units. With completion scheduled for December 2017, the development will feature 47 one-bedroom, 70 two-bedroom, 15 three-bedroom, and two four-bedroom apartments.

The low-rise building also includes five penthouses on levels seven and eight, and four duplexes on the ground level. There is one basement level, with 159 parking lots and 10 retail parking spaces.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held in April 2016, and construction began in August. Al Jihan Gulf Horizon General Contracting was appointed as the main contractor.
Currently, 55% of the work on the building is complete, and plastering and block work on the first five levels are ongoing. When Construction Week visited the site, structural work was almost finished. Al Jihan is using the Peri Formwork system to accelerate progress.

Built on an area of 6,225m2, Gemini Splendor will boast a built-up area of 2.97ha once complete. Apartments sizes range from 72.4m2 to 91m2 for a one-bedroom, 112m2 to 148.6m2 for a two-bedroom, 200m2 for a three-bedroom, 330m2 to 417m2 for a townhouse duplex, and 230m2 to 277m2 for a penthouse.

Sudhakar Rao, founder of Gemini Group, says: “We are offering our buyers a value-for-money proposition. We believe in providing luxury living spaces and, for this reason, we have [chosen not to build] studio apartments.”

Each apartment will come with kitchen appliances and a smart-home automation system. Chief executive officer, Sailesh Jatania, tells Construction Week: “All of the kitchens will be fully equipped with white lacquered cabinets, and Siemens- and Ariston-branded inbuilt appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, hobs, hoods, and ovens, at no extra cost.”

He adds: “The smart home system is supplied by a US-based firm, Lutron, and fitted in each apartment. It can control the lighting, curtains, music system, and air conditioning through an app, which can be installed on a smartphone. It can also be handled remotely. Additionally, it has a geo-fencing feature.”

The project’s first floor will house amenities such as an infinity swimming pool, a kid’s pool, a children’s play area, steam and sauna rooms, a basketball court, and an indoor gym, as well as an outdoor gym. Each townhouse will have a private Jacuzzi.

Terming the development an “affordable luxury” project, Gemini’s one-bedroom units start at a price of $300,000 (AED1.1mn), and two-bedroom homes start at $409,000 (AED1.8mn). A quarter of the units have been sold so far, to a mix of GCC and Indian nationals, Rao reveals.

The $54.44m (AED200m) project has a workforce of 400 personnel onsite at present. Anand Pillai, vice president of Green Bridges, parent company of Al Jihan, says that accessibility is one of the main challenges faced on the project. “There is no proper road infrastructure connecting the site to the main road, making ingress and egress a bit problematic.”

But Sobha, the master developer in the area, has assured developers in the vicinity that access will be constructed shortly.

Prior to entering the real estate market, Rao was heading Sievert Group, which specialised in technical testing and inspection within the oil and gas industry. Sievert was acquired by Bureau
Veritas in 2013.

For Rao, real estate was the obvious choice. “We always believed in the brick-and-mortar story, rather than intangible products and services. After the sale of our business, Sievert Group, we looked into investing in real estate. We believe in the flamboyance of Dubai, where luxury is the order of the day,” he says.

He continues: “We are very confident about the future prospects of the real estate and construction sectors, and believe that the growth will be driven by the government’s Vision 2020 and Vision 2030, which will drive the economic growth.”

Rao does not believe the market is oversupplied. He explains: “Economies go through cycles. Sometimes there are situations of low supply and high demand, [and] developers start undertaking new projects. Then the market gets flooded with supply, [and] the demand might be subdued. That’s when prices suffer.

“In Dubai, developers are racing ahead with a lot of projects – one might think it is oversupplied. However, the difference is that the market is expanding and evolving and, due to the on-going developmental activities,  all these units will be absorbed. Then we may see a shortage of residential units by 2020.

“I, personally, do not feel that the market is suffering from an oversupply of residential units. When the economy picks up next year, so will the real estate market, and all these units will be snapped up.

“That’s one of the reasons we are not promoting sales aggressively – focussing on construction and delivery instead. By the time we deliver, all units will be sold out. And they will command a higher price than the current market price.”

Rao also contends that the current economic climate makes it the right time for investors to capitalise on Dubai’s real estate market, as the low-price environment makes the emirate an attractive proposition for buyers.

He concludes: “The visionary rulers of the UAE do not wait for the demand to come, they create the demand.”

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