Dubai: The Dubai developer Azizi is on the lookout for a location for its next “billion plus” project in the city, according to a top official.
There are only two considerations – it will need to be a mixed-use project and it needs to be “iconic”. “Not just for Dubai, but iconic for the whole UAE ,” said Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments.
“It has to be mixed-use because a billion plus development needs to be buzzing with life 24 hours, like the Burj Khalifa. Building it for residential alone will not work for such an investment. So, you have commercial and retail taking care of traffic in the mornings and the residential part getting active in the evenings. From a lifestyle and technical point of view, it has to be mixed-use.
“There are a couple of locations in mind – but we have not acquired any for this venture. Everything about it needs to be – iconic.”
The CEO instantly dismisses suggestions that a property market getting back into health after four years may not be ready for another mega-billion effort. “We would not be talking about spending such an amount if we weren’t sure about what the response could be,” he added.
“Right now, more than 80 per cent of our projects launched two years ago and are complete or soon-to-be-ready are sold. We need new inventory. In the last three months, we have seen increases in the number of buyer prospects coming to our offices – and they are buying.
“Other developers will be saying the same thing – the last three months have shown a return to form for Dubai property.”
This means that Azizi will, for now, keep its twin-tower on Shaikh Zayed Road plans on hold for some more time and pivot directly to a new location and new signature project.
Not just the One
The undisclosed billion plus project is not the only one Azizi is lining up. It will take on new work at four locations – Dubai Healthcare City, Al Furjan, Meydan and Studio City – for a combined Dh7 billion in new spend.
“As I said, our soon-to-be-ready projects are getting sold out – and we need new inventory,” the CEO said. “The amount of construction that we got through last year has been solid – we are talking about 8 per cent to 10 per cent progress each month. At that pace, we take about 18 months to complete and probably 24 months for a larger project.
“Whether it’s Healthcare City or Meydan, we already have the land – launching new constructions will not take much time.”
Take the wheels
It was last year that Azizi brought all of its project-related activities in-house, including ordering supplies. It made for a more hands-on approach on construction – and which is paying off by keeping time overruns to a bare minimum.
“The main reason why we took these construction decisions in-house was last year we were not sure whether the contractors we sign up had cashflow issues or bad loans to deal with,” said Azizi. “It would have placed our projects in jeopardy, and impact our delivery on time and to the right quality.
“Even with supplies coming from Europe or elsewhere, we wanted to be sure we knew what was happening. The in-house team to handle procurement was expanded – and it seemed to work. We are making on-time progress with projects despite having the pandemic around.”