Deyaar launches The Atria at Business Bay. Courtesy Deyaar
Deyaar launches The Atria at Business Bay. Courtesy Deyaar

Deyaar unveils Dh900m hospitality and housing project in Dubai’s Business Bay

Deyaar Development yesterday announced plans for a 1.25 million square foot luxury hospitality and housing scheme.

Deyaar said that it would spend Dh900 million developing 350 serviced apartments and 219 apartments at The Atria project, a twin-tower scheme in Dubai’s Business Bay area.

The developer said it would start selling off-plan apartments in the scheme on Saturday and had appointed Middle East Foundation to start work on construction next week.

The international interior design company Yoo has been charged with designing the apartments, which will be its first foray into the Dubai market.

Yoo has worked with designers including Philippe Starck, Jade Jagger and Steve Leung to furnish luxury pads on 55 projects across 27 countries.

“This project will be a new village,” said John Hitchcox, the co-founder of Yoo.

Deyaar, which was initially formed as the property management arm of Dubai Islamic Bank then floated on the Dubai Financial Market, has developed homes and offices in the Business Bay area, which has taken longer to recover from the crisis than other parts of Dubai.

The company, which was hit hard by the downturn, announced in 2011 that it would switch its focus from property development to growing its property and facility management operation.

But in recent months Deyaar has indicated it plans to move its focus back towards developing hotel apartments in Dubai.

“Deyaar is back,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Qatami, the Deyaar chief executive. “We are the biggest developer in Business Bay and we are trying to add to this history.”

Deyaar’s decision is part of a wider move from developers in Business Bay to convert buildings in what was intended to be the largest office district in the Middle East initially into flats and hotels.

A rival Dubai-based developer, Damac, is converting thousands of square feet of its planned office towers into serviced apartments, and Emaar is also developing hundreds of new serviced apartments in the area.

Deyaar said that the scheme had been originally earmarked for offices but had been redesigned as flats and hotel apartments because of market conditions.

“The market has changed,” said Mr Al Qatami. “Most of Deyaar’s land bank was designed as offices but a lot has changed since then.”

This month Deyaar said that it had decided to develop up to 1 million square feet for hotel and serviced apartment projects in Dubai as it attempts to diversify its development portfolio beyond commercial and residential properties.

It said the new schemes would be located in areas such as Business Bay along Sheikh Zayed Road and sites located in proximity to the proposed venue for the Expo 2020 along Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed road.

Deyaar also said that it was seeking to grow its hospitality portfolio, both organically and inorganically through acquisitions.

The company said it plans to allow foreigners to begin investing in its shares and to hold up to 25 per cent of its share capital.

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July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

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2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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