Dubai: In a major push into the vertical space, Nakheel will launch sales of its two luxury twin-tower projects during the first quarter of 2017. Both the Palm 360 (at Palm Jumeirah) and Ibn Battuta Residences (within the wider cluster that also features the mall) will feature a hospitality component.

The development costs of both are still being finalised. A hotel operator will be named shortly for the Palm 360, while Avani, an upscale Far Eastern brand, will do the honours at the second.

On whether it was a conscious decision to get more tower projects into its development portfolio, Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman of Nakheel said, “We have the prime locations and it made business sense to develop them. Everything is ready for their launch, and we will have an international roadshow to market them.
“We have had lots of interest to be the hospitality partner at the Palm 360. The negotiations are continuing.”

The developer currently has a flagship high-rise project at a fairly advanced stage of construction. The 52-storey Palm Tower will have 504 residences and a 290-room hotel component, which will be managed by St. Regis. The main contract was awarded for Dh819 million. Prices for the apartments start from Dh1.7 million and reach Dh3.5 million.
An upbeat investor reception for The Palm 360, where unit prices could skew higher, and Ibn Battuta Residences would be just the start to the upcoming year that Nakheel would want. As for this year, “I can tell you that we will have growth,” said Lootah. (The developer had recorded Dh4.38 billion in 2015.) “We will not get into the affordable market space … our comfort remains in the mid to high-end. Based on our sales numbers, clearly there is still good demand for quality offerings.”

By year-end, the company will hand over just over 1,700 homes. On Monday, it opened up a mini-cluster of beachside fine dining outlets integrated into a residential component featuring 36 studios, which were delivered earlier. The cost of development was Dh120 million.

The coming months will see the developer complete further set pieces to firming up the Palm’s reputation as a leisure and entertainment destination. The Pointe — a 1.2 kilometre waterfront strip located at the very tip of the island — is due for completion later this quarter or early next. The super-premium entertainment cluster — costing Dh800 million — is more than 70 per cent leased.

Then there will be the Nakheel Mall, a Dh1.2 billion retail magnet in the making and with 4.2 million square feet of retail and entertainment options. “This is very much on schedule,” the chairman added.

Of late, new development activity has picked up appreciably at the Palm. Market sources suggest there are indications of improving investor interest in the secondary market and which should rub off on the upcoming off-plan launches from Nakheel directly.

As to whether there would be further plots Nakheel can conceivably develop on the Palm beyond the Palm 360, Lootah isn’t telling.

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