The extent of investor appetite for premium residential property in Ajman will be tested with the release of the ‘golf villas' at the Al Zorah development, with prices starting from Dh4 million. There are only 42 of these units — all overlooking the Jack Nicklaus designed par-72, 18-hole golf course — being built in the first phase of the multi-year Dh60 billion mixed-use development that will eventually see the creation of five ‘districts' within it.
"Phase I of the development has reached a certain maturity with the infrastructure, the golf course and the two resorts, and that made it ideal to open sales for the villas now,” said Imad Dana, CEO of Al Zorah Development Co., which is equally owned by the Ajman Government and Lebanon's Solidere International. "Specific to Phase 1, we have committed investments of Dh2 billion.
"The two resorts will be ready within six months of each other by late this year or early next, with one of the properties being managed by the Oberoi Group. For the golf course, the launch schedule is set for June/July.”
While the villas are built by the master-developer, there were also plots sold to private investors at the time of the project's launch back in 2008. These investors should be in a position to take up on-site activity in the second-half.
"As things stand now, the Phase II development should be initiated by next year, where again the bulk of the residential stock will be built by us,” said Dana. "But we need to be sure that market appetite exists before we decide on the sales phase for future releases.”
Phase II will also have a retail and leisure component set around the four marinas. On whether there are plans for a community mall, Dana said such an option is being kept open. "The master plan has a piece of land where retail could come in,” said Dana. "But again that requires the whole development to reach a critical mass before any decision is taken.”
The Al Zorah development will encapsulate 5.4 million square metres and will take the better part of the next 10 years to realise all of its potential. When the financial crisis struck, the developer saw fit to revise the master plan according to market circumstances. The development schedule for the hospitality component was brought forward.
Dana said that there are no plans to bring in any strategic investors at the operating company level ... "But we can accommodate them to develop specific districts or even select offerings. Phase I development was financed direct by the operating company.”
Source: Gulf News