How important is innovation to Deyaar going forward?
SAEED AL QATAMI: In Deyaar we take innovation very seriously and we try, when we look at the whole cycle of the product development in our project to see where we can innovate or create a better product. So we do look at innovation in every aspect of our business model. When it comes in to designing a project ensuring that every and each space is well utilized in our design and layout. In our execution of the project we try to innovate where we can have a better and efficient product as well.
Why is the Midtown by Deyaar development different than Deyaarâ€™s other projects?
KHALIFA AL ZAFFIN: The new Midtown by Deyaar development is very exciting because we are building a community there. It will be an integrated community. Lifestyle is there. It's a neighborhood, it's a small township that you would basically hopefully work there and live there. And if you don't work there, you will be living very well there. And I think it's the first phase of the development and that really says the whole vision and a strategy of Deyaar; very well situated, within New Dubai and Dubai South.
Where are we seeing innovation in the Midtown by Deyaar development?
SAEED AL QATAMI: The innovation in the Midtown by Deyaar development is creating the community, the right community for the clients. We had ensured that in our design all aspect of community required for the mid-segment market are there. We even gone little bit further in ensuring that this is going to be a luxurious project at affordable price.
Midtown by Deyaar is one of the biggest project that Deyaar decided to undertake. We believe the location of Midtown is set for mid income clients and we believe the future of that location, in the short term future and the medium term future, will be successful.
What are the detailed specs of the Midtown by Deyaar project, specifically land-size, development size, value, and delivery timelines?
IYAD CHARCHAR: The Midtown project, designed by Deyaar, is our first master community project. It is designed over 1.2m square feet of land. And it will be about 5m square feet of built-up area altogether. The project consist of about 2,500 residential units. We have a retail component and hospitality component; about 20% in hospitality of the overall built-up area, 5% retail, and 75% in residential.
The detail of the residential is about 15% in small apartments, about 50 to 60% of medium-sized apartment, and the rest are large sized apartments.
The architectural style that we have looked for in this project is a contemporary, simplified architecture. The reason for that is that we thought that spending more money on amenities and on facilities around the projects such as landscape and recreation area is more valuable to the end user than actually spending it on sophisticated elevations.
The project is budgeted currently at a value of about 3bn UAE dirhams. We intend to spend it over the next five years over phases. There are numbers of phases that are planned in the project. They will be overlapped and we will build it all within the next five years.
In Dubai we, as Deyaar, find today most of the interest comes on the affordable, mid-income segment, because this is a growing population of this market.
We intend to hit the ground on site by the first quarter of 2016. The first phase will be ready within 2.5 to 3 years max from that. So that will be roughly end of 2018 and all the other phases will be finished within 2 to 3 years latest after that.
What makes Midtown by Deyaar a good project right now and how does it fit into the overall strategy of the company going forward?
SAEED AL QATAMI: There is a huge demand for mid segment market. I believe the location itself going into that part of the city where we believe that there will be a huge demand and increase in population over the next 10 years, will make it suitable for investors to invest today for end-users to use in the short term. We know that Expo 2020 that is going to be there. We know that Al-Maktoum Airport is going to start operation in a very gradual increase over the next few years. So we know that there will be a huge movement of population in that location.
How much of a growth driver for a real estate developers is the Expo 2020?
KHALIFA AL ZAFFIN: The Expo 2020 will be one of the biggest catalyst for real estate. Dubai is a good environment to be in. It's good for business. It's good from a social point of view. It's a fantastic lifestyle and a lot of people would decide to have some kind of a place in Dubai here to come and visit. I think most people will decide to come here more often probably more than once a year. And they would like to have a base. So it will be a very good catalyst for real estate business for sure.
What are some of the biggest trends you are seeing on the demand side in Dubaiâ€™s real estate market?
SAEED AL QATAMI:Â In Dubai we, as Deyaar, find today most of the interest comes on the affordable, mid-income segment, because this is a growing population of this market. And as economy of Dubai moves, we have to always find products which will be suitable for this growing population.
What is your general outlook for real estate in Dubai?
KHALIFA AL ZAFFIN: I think it is a buyer market, better than anywhere else in the world. I am an engineer, I am a builder. I have seen a lot of buildings and I have an eye for building. You look at Dubai and the quality, it's comparable in only few areas in the world. Today US, UK and few places, Germany probably. The rest of the world, they don't really measure.