New date for Reem Island units

Some apartments in Marina Square, the long-delayed Reem Island project, will be handed over later this month, owners have been told.

The developer of Marina Square, the long-delayed master-planned project on Reem Island, will start handing over apartments in some towers by the end of the month, owners have been told.

The handovers are expected in phases, beginning with RAK Tower, a 43-storey residential building owned by RAK Properties. But the handing over of other completed towers may not begin until the end of May, according to notices sent to owners.

The news follows this week's announcement that the developer Sorouh Real Estate is starting the handover of apartments in the Sun and Sky towers, the first project completed on Reem.

Marina Square covers 26.7 hectares and will eventually include 13 residential towers, a commercial tower, shopping mall and a hotel built around a marina with berths for boats up to 40 metres in length. The first phase of the project includes eight towers.

A representative of Tamouh Investments, the master developer of the project, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last March, Tamouh announced that it would begin handing over units in Marina Square in May last year. Then in August, the company issued a press release saying handovers would begin "post Ramadan, following the receipt of mandatory approvals and certifications from regulatory authorities and utility service providers".

But the handovers did not happen. And the developer has not explained the delays, frustrating owners.

"We're paying rent and a mortgage, as well as storage charges for our furniture," said an owner in the Marina Heights development who asked not to be named. "We were in the apartment a year ago and it looked finished."

Marina Heights, one of several sub-developments within Marina Square, consists of two 43-storey towers with a total of 704 apartments. This week Profile Group Properties, the owner of the Marina Heights buildings, sent a notice to buyers of units advising that they could begin final inspections of the apartments, but the developer will not start giving buyers their keys until "on or before" May 26.

"Obviously we're frustrated, but we're not privy" to the reasons for the delays, said Guy Alan Sadler, the chief executive of Profile Group.

The timing of handovers was up to Tamouh, Mr Sadler said. Profile Group is one of several developers that bought towers that are being built by Tamouh.

Before Profile Group can do a handover of individual units to buyers, Tamouh must hand the buildings over to Profile.

The Marina Heights towers still do not have their final completion certificates from the Government, Mr Sadler said. "We want to get clients into their apartments as soon as possible," he said.

Sorouh and Tamouh had to make changes to the civil defence systems in the buildings to receive final certification from the Abu Dhabi Government, owners have been told. But neither developer would confirm the reasons for the delays.

"These issues should have been addressed on the drawing board, not now," said Ahmed Nawab, the chief executive of Trust City Real Estate, which plans to occupy a full floor in the Infinity Tower, an office building in the Marina Square project. "We've been waiting patiently and every time it has been delayed."

The US$30 billion (Dh110.19bn) Reem Island development is a landmark for Abu Dhabi. It is one of the first-large scale developments in which foreigners can own apartments.

The "city within a city" will eventually cover 6.5 million square metres and house more than 200,000 people.

The Sun and Sky complex includes a total of 1,150 apartments in the 74-storey Sky Tower and the 65-storey Sun Tower.