Dubai: Azizi Developers is ready to give shape to its tall ambitions … two skyscraper projects on Sheikh Zayed Road and with one of them to be the second tallest (at 570 metres plus) after the Burj Khalifa (at 830 metres right up to the tip).
The combined cost of Azizi’s plans to aim for the skies is Dh4.5 billion, which includes the cost of the land. “For the 570-metre plus project, we bought the plot from Meydan last year,” said Mirwais Azizi, Chairman.
“Our plan is to have a hotel and residences, and to be managed by our new hospitality division. We are in the process of registering the brand, and I’m not going to say anything about that now.
“I had asked Atkins [the architectural firm] for some changes to be made on the design, inside the building and not the structure as such. Those details should be finished in the next four to five months, and at that point, the construction will start.”
It was in September last that Azizi dropped hints of its high-rise moves.
In fact, Meydan had two years ago announced a skyscraper (calling it Entisar) for that very site and had issued detailed designs.
It was to be the flagship tower project for Meydan, and was to be one of the priciest residential properties in Dubai.
It was later that Meydan announced plans for a super-tall structure at its Meydan One master-development in MBR City.
“We will have 100 storeys for the hotel and 22 for the residences,” Azizi said.
The second venture on Shaikh Zayed Road will be just as visually striking — a twin-tower right on the Dubai Water Canal and adjacent to the Safa Park.
Preliminary works had been going on the site for some time now.
It is also within range of the other twin-tower that has pride of place on SZ Road, the JW Marriott Marquis (355 metres high), but on the other side of the highway.
“Ours will be an all-residential property — our internal team felt this was the best option for that particular location and not include a hospitality portion as well,” said Azizi.
The two projects will aim for completion within three to four years.
In fact, it was in the last two years that Azizi went into overdrive with its real estate portfolio and emerged as one of the biggest names among Dubai’s privately-owned developers. Until then, it had primarily focused on mid-rise projects in some of the Dubailand clusters.
But then came its interest in the Meydan-owned MBR City location. It went on a land buying spree, and which is now taking shape through the “Riviera” and “Victoria” communities.
The Riviera — and yes, with an extensive waterside setting — will have 69 mid-rise and adding 16,000 units to Dubai’s freehold inventory. The cost to develop — Dh12 billion.
The Chairman is quick to make one point quite clear — that this not going to be a project where completion dates are set for the distant future.
“Half of the projects will finish before the end of 2019 and the other half before mid-2020,” he added. “Phase 1 and 2 of Riviera will finish in the first quarter of 2019; we are already at the ground level plus two basements at the site.
“After that each floor will take about 10 days. By the end of July, all the structures should be complete and then the finishing works start from August.
“For Phase 3 and 4, construction starts in March and I’ve been told by the sales team that a lot of buyers are waiting for sales to start. As for phases 1 and 2, we have already sold more than 80 per cent.” (Prices for the Riviera homes average Dh1,400-Dh1,450 a square foot, while the Victoria is around Dh1,350.”
But doesn’t he worry at some level that this year could be a difficult one for off-plan sales? The Chairman is not one to harbour doubts — “I started with a small construction firm in Dubai 23 years ago and when I could, I got into development. Everyone in the world seems to have some sort of awareness of Dubai and many want to have a base here. It’s something that no one can deny.
“I don’t see any need to worry about 2018 or 2019 … If anything, I would tell everyone to invest more, develop more.”
Azizi gets a taste for hospitality
Managing a hotel at a 570 metre plus skyscraper in the making on Shaikh Zayed Road is not enough for Azizi Developers. The medium-term plan is to build and manage a portfolio of ten or more hotels in Dubai, including at its Riviera and Victoria communities in MBR City. Azizi thus becomes the latest big-time freehold developer in Dubai to make a push into hospitality.