Damac to hand over first Akoya villas in Dubai this year

Structures for 1,100 of the villas are already finished and around 95 per cent of the site’s golf course is also complete.

Structures for 1,100 of the villas are already finished. Courtesy Damac

The first villas at the US$6 billion Akoya by Damac development will be delivered by the end of the year, said a senior Damac executive.

The progress on site has made Damac Properties the "busiest developer in Dubai" and the handovers to the buyers will continue until 2020, according to Niall McLoughlin, the firm's senior vice president.

The Dubai-based developer bought a 42 million square feet plot of land near Arabian Ranches in July 2013.

In less than two years it secured all the necessary permits, agreed 24 of the 26 main contract packages, and commenced work on 2,400 of the 2,600 villas.

Damac has completed construction of the external structures for 1,100 villas, and about 95 per cent of the site’s golf course – designed by Gil Hanse and to be operated by Trump International – is complete.

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About a quarter of the golf course’s clubhouse has also been completed even though he contract to build it was only awarded by Seidco General Contracting three months ago.

Work on the structures of six out of 18 clusters of apartment buildings – with 150 homes in each unit – has been completed. Construction has started on 11 clusters and contracts for the remaining seven are set to be awarded next month.

A power substation supplying energy to 75 per cent of the project has also been completed and handed over to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. It is expected to be commissioned next month.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 workers on the site, but Mr McLoughlin said that could increase to between 30,000 and 40,000 as more of the residential clusters reach the fit-out phase.

“We could have 250 contractors on site at any one time,” he said. “There is 42 million sq ft, and this is our baby one. Akoya Oxygen is bigger.”

He declined to provide sales figures at the development, but said the work done to date was an indication of demand.

“We are not going to do this much if we are not confident of getting people here, but the people who have already purchased continue to pay,” said Mr McLoughlin.

“People are buying, and if the market is in turmoil, [they] don’t continue their commitments. We have seen the sales momentum continue in Dubai. In the first three months of this year we recorded Dh2.8bn in sales.”

According to property consultancy JLL’s first quarter report on Dubai’s market, 730 new residential units were delivered, but it expected 22,000 more to be handed over by the end of the year.

“However, we remain cautious of the delivery of some projects within the specified time frame,” it said.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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