Ziad El Chaar
When Damac’s managing director Ziad El Chaar spoke at CW’s Leaders in Construction conference in September last year, his huge optimism on the prospects for Dubai’s property and construction market in 2013 seemed somewhat on the bullish side.
Property prices were only just showing signs of recovery, yet here was a man predicting that 2013 would “definitely be exciting and interesting, compared to the last three or four years”.
El Chaar said that he had noticed the upswing in market sentiment almost 12 months earlier at Cityscape 2011. The firm began putting together scores of deals which have subsequently led to a plethora of project announcements – each of which is grander than the last.
Since December last year, Damac has launched a 53-storey serviced apartment tower in Downtown Dubai known as The Distinction, a $550m pair of towers in Riyadh and Damac furnished by Italian fashion house Fendi, a $1bn four-tower Damac Towers By Paramount project containing the group’s first hotel and its biggest project by land area to date – the Akoya By Damac scheme in Dubailand which has a Trump International Golf Club as its star attraction.
“Demand never crashed in Dubai,” he told Construction Week. “Liquidity crashed, projects crashed, but the demand remained.
“Travel five hours by plane around Dubai and you’ll find a whole lot of countries that need a place like Dubai – that need a second home like Dubai.”
Alongside projects in the UAE, Damac is also currently on site in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. It is also building the first residential tower project in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad to be erected since the 1980s.