Mumbai // Nakheel is actively looking to India to attract more retail brands as well as investment into the hospitality sector as it builds more malls and hotels in Dubai.
“We are moving in a strong way in retail and hospitality,” said Ali Rashid Lootah, the chairman of Nakheel, who was in Mumbai for the three-day Dubai Property Show that opened on Friday. “We don’t have many Indian retailers in Dubai but a lot of Indian brands are becoming more and more known regionally and internationally. We are trying to get them to come to Dubai. We have these old relations with India and we are trying to capitalise on that.”
Mr Lootah said he would be keen for an Indian partner to invest in a joint venture in a three- to four-star hotel project. He added that the company had been talking to one potential partner, although nothing had as yet materialised.
The Dubai developer already has three joint venture partnerships for projects. It has partnered with Spain’s RIU Hotels and Resorts for a 750-room, four-star beachfront resort and with Thailand’s Minor Hotel Group for a 500-room Avani resort. A few days ago it emerged that Nakheel would join forces with Thailand’s Centara for a 550-room resort on Deira Islands.
Nakheel has 10 hotels in the pipeline, including a luxury hotel as part of its Palm Tower project.
It is also aggressively developing new shopping centres, including Nakheel Mall, Deira Mall, and Al Khail Avenue.
Nakheel showcased $4.6 billion worth of projects, in terms of construction costs, at the exhibition in Mumbai, including its Deira Islands development and various projects on the Palm Jumeirah. Indians make up about 11 per cent of Nakheel’s customers, having bought almost 4,400 villas, apartments, and land plots worth about $2.5bn in total, according to figures from the company.
Mr Lootah said that Nakheel would consider investing in India if it found the right partner and project.
The company is hoping to unveil a partnership on a project in Riyadh soon, Mr Lootah said, although with the deal yet to be signed he was unable to share details.
“In Saudi Arabia we are talking to a big developer and we would like to be a development manager, passing on our know-how,” he said.
The mixed-use project covered a “huge, huge area” and would “hopefully” be announced in a couple of weeks, he said.
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