Anchor dropped for what are to be the city’s first full-fledged water homes

Dubai Properties has dropped anchor for what are to be the city’s first fully-fledged “water homes”.
Or — to be more precise — laid the foundation for them.

Located off Business Bay and smack on the Dubai Water Canal, the limited collection of super-premium homes could go on sale later in the year.
Instead of concrete piling and thick, ungainly columns — as in offshore oil rigs — to support the properties, the master-developer is using a mooring technology that elongates and contracts with the tides.

The technology — known as “Seaflex” and sourced from a Dutch firm — is rated as being far more environmentally friendly and also scores in terms of the aesthetics.

That does count when multimillion dirham homes are to be the end result. It could take two years to build and hand over. (Market sources are guessing that per square foot prices could easily be in the Dh3,500 and over range.)
“Not a single unit of the “Marina Homes” has been put on sale, but it forms part of our plans for 2017,” said Masoud Al Awar, Chief Officer — Commercial at Dubai Properties. “But the designs are now done and we are considering exhibiting these to potential customers.

“There will be less than 100 of these homes — this is on the Canal. Tomorrow, if you own one of those villas, it’s as good as owning an unit in Burj Khalifa. And you can say “I am living on Dubai Canal.””

Al Awar declined to go into price specifics, though it could be these are still being finalised. “Their uniqueness will decide the prices,” he added.
For Dubai Properties, the water homes provide the ultimate value add for the wider Business Bay development. The “Marasi” marina stretch including the Canal and the water homes will form one boundary for the entire development, while on the other it has Shaikh Zayed Road. The benefits of having the Canal are yet to be fully reflected in overall Business Bay apartment prices … that could well change in a market upturn.
This is not the only waterside master-developments in the Dubai Properties portfolio.
There is Culture Village with its Palazzo Versace and D1 skyscraper, both built and owned by a private developer.
But Dubai Properties on its own has two fairly sizeable residential clusters in the form of Dubai Wharf and Manazel Al Khor within Culture Village.
The handover of units at Dubai Wharf is already well advanced and to be followed by those at Manazel Al Khor.
The entire development could soon have more than 2,000 people living and working there (at the retail units).
Currently, apartments at Dubai Wharf are on between Dh1,400-Dh1,700 a square foot and in Manazel Al Khor are around Dh1,700.
Market requirements

On whether Dubai Properties would launch another cluster at Culture Village, Al Awar said: “This is part of the plan, but must be revealed at the right time. What I will say is that DP has been fulfilling the requirements of the market.
“If there’s demand, we can produce something innovative that supports the development of Culture Village, I think there is a lot of room for more products to be launched there. Culture Village is in the heart of Dubai.”
But there is mega-sized competition down the Creek, in the form of Dubai Creek Harbour, where average prices have been in the Dh1,200 a square foot range.
According to Al Awar, competition is part and parcel of the Dubai model. “There is no one developer who has a monopoly — it is three or four developers, all trying to achieve the best possible outcome for the growth of the city.”
The handovers at Dubai Wharf, in particular, created a sense of fulfilment at Dubai Properties. “It was the first project Dubai Properties delivered before the target date,” said Al Awar. “This requires putting in the infrastructure access and all those aspects related to it. This was done at the end of last year.
“This was a milestone because after the financial crisis, things happened. There was a slow down in terms of infrastructure, construction, etc. So, to hand over well before the scheduled date is quite the milestone.”
With the water homes project now off the blocks, more milestones beckon for the developer.

Building on land, air and the water

Dubai Properties sure has the complete portfolio — in Dubailand and Culture Village, it has two massive land banks in the city. And its upscale 1 JBR high-rise project will have the developer reach for the skies. Now, with the Marasi water homes, it is stretching the boundaries of where to go.
“We have said this at the launch — these are going to be Dubai’s first proper water homes,” said Masoud Al Awar. “These are not going to be floating homes but come fixed to a particular spot.”

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