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22 May 2024

Manchester reveals Dh2bn investment

By Hamed Sewerky

Reservations will soon be invited for five luxury villas that are being built in Dubai’s Al Barsha area. But anyone who cannot meet the Dh20 million asking price for each property need not apply.

The company behind the project is Manchester Real Estate. Here Managing Director Abdul Aziz Linjawi tells Emirates Business about this highest of high-end developments and sets out his company’s plans for the Dubai property market.

What prompted you to enter such a rarified level of the residential market?

We have found that demand in Dubai is increasing.

There are many clients who are keen to express their individuality through the home they own.

Not everyone can afford this kind of residence – but everybody knows that you have to pay a considerable amount of money to live in a 15,000 sq ft home.

Are you talking about prospective buyers of all nationalities?

No, the freehold rules do not apply to these villas – they are for UAE and GCC Nationals only.

Recently there has been fierce competition for this kind of property – why is this?

Dubai today is not Dubai as it was five years ago – the emirate is growing and attracting businessmen and investors who need large homes.

What other projects are you looking at?

We recently bought three pieces of land, including two on the third phase of International City.

The third site is at Silicon Oasis and we plan to build three medium-height residential buildings there for freehold or rent. This will take 18 months to complete.

What is the level of your investment?

The International City project along with the Al Barsha villas are costing around Dh250 million.

This is on top of our previous investments. We are constructing three towers in Dubai, including two residential buildings and a commercial one.

The commercial tower, Manchester Business Tower at Business Bay, has 20 floors and contains 80 offices. Each floor has four offices.

There is, also, a ground floor dedicated to retail.

The two residential Manchester Sport towers are being constructed at Dubai Sports City. Each has 14 floors and contains 200 flats.

What is the value of Manchester Real Estate’s total investments?

I do not like to give specific figures but let us say that our investments so far range between Dh1.5 billion and Dh2bn.

In your opinion, why do developers neglect the rental market?

In recent years property developers have been concentrating on taking advantage of the huge demand for freehold properties.

However, with the beginning of a new phase, developers will change their priorities.

They should concentrate on the rental sector to benefit from the shortage of homes to rent in Dubai and the other emirates.

Manchester Real Estate is meeting this demand by building medium-cost properties intended for the rental market.

What is your view of the real estate boom in Dubai?

There is no boom – all economic sectors in Dubai are prospering.

Look around at the activity in Dubai and look at the new categories of landlords who have started to benefit from real estate growth in the emirate.

The number of landlords increased in most emirates and they are still making big profits.

Do you fear a recession?

There is no recession at all.

All economic indexes show that the real estate sector will keep on improving in the long term.

These indexes reflect an ambitious vision that aspires to transform Dubai into one of the world’s most important cities.

Investors in the real estate sector are expected to gain large revenues, whether in the short or long term.

What do you think will happen in the next few years?

The real estate market in Dubai has started to mature.

Many services have begun to appear, such as organisations specialising in providing finance.

Besides, the value of properties in Dubai is going go up by 10 per cent compared with five per cent in London. The cost of land here is also low.

One square metre costs around $1,000 (Dh3,600) compared with around $5,000 in London. In addition, there is a wide range of real estate.

Local laws related to ownership by foreigners have helped the sector to develop.

When will you start investing outside Dubai?

There are promising opportunities in the other emirates.

However, our focus at the moment is on Dubai, which still has opportunities for investment and growth not available anywhere else.

Who are your clients?

Seventy per cent of our clients are foreigners, especially British people who own 50 per cent of the units in the company’s projects.

Arabs form more than 10 per cent of the list, which also includes clients from Iran, Japan and the US.

This explains why the company’s promotional campaigns concentrate on Britain.

We run four offices there, in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Abdul Aziz Linjawi

Managing Director, Manchester Real Estate

The Manchester group was founded in 1984 by Abdul Aziz Lenjawi to develop and construct commercial and residential properties.

The group embarked upon the first freehold development, Manchester Tower 1 in Dubai Marina in 2001 and now, with International City’s Manchester Crescent, the group hopes to extend its reach.