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Dubai’s underwater villas go on sale for Dh5m

Properties unveiled at a pre-launch sales event

    • By Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter
    • Published: 20:00 February 8, 2015
    • Gulf News


  • Image Credit: Screengrab from Heart of Dubai brochure
  • The underwater villa will be a three-level house with a rooftop and underwater suite.
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If you fancy waking up to a room submerged several feet underwater, an ongoing project on Dubai’s The World islands may just be the perfect choice.

Setting the bar higher for luxury living, a developer has just unveiled a community of floating villas to a select group of property investors in Dubai. The villas feature underwater rooms “offering magnificent views of the spectacular sea world.”

Each property initially costs a whopping Dh5 million, according to several media reports. It will be a three-level house, with a rooftop deck at the third level and a suite at the bottom floor, submerged 13 feet underwater.

It will be constructed across a 1,700-square-foot area on The World Islands and will be one of the myriad of attractions of the Heart of Europe project by developer Kleindienst Group.

A source from the office of the developer confirmed to Gulf News that a pre-launch VIP sales event took place on Saturday, but refused to divulge more details.

The Heart of Europe project, which covers a cluster of six islands, is the first of its kind in Dubai and also promises to feature “rain and snow-lined” streets, private and public sandy beaches, world’s largest open aquarium, outdoor climate controlled streets and a five-star luxury family hotel, among many others.

“The Heart of Europe provides an amazing opportunity to invest in an outstanding hospitality project, in a unique island setting just off the coast of Dubai,” the developer said on its website.

“A city that is home to innovation and intrigue, a destination that is not afraid of dreaming big.”

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The first phase of the Dubai tram, opening today, will stretch 10.6 kilometres and include 11 stations.

Dubai Tram will officially launch on Tuesday evening, November 11, beginning passenger services on Wednesday at 6.30 am, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said.

The project will be inaugrated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and the prime minister of the UAE, who will embark on the tram’s maiden run along with other senior RTA officials.

The first phase of the tram, opening today, will stretch 10.6 kilometres with 11 stations covering major residential and commercial areas between Dubai Marina and Al Sufouh.

Dubai Tram is the first tram outside Europe powered by ground-based electric cables extending throughout the tramway, avoiding the need for hanging cables, and the first tram in the world to utilise platform screen doors, which synchronise with the opening and closing of the tram doors to provide additional safety to riders.

The project is also the first tram to offer air-conditioned stations and different cabin classes, integrating the same gold, silver and women & children carriage system as the Dubai Metro.

“The Dubai Tram is a brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide an advanced transit system that serves the JBR, Marina and Sufouh,” said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the RTA.

“At the establishment of the RTA in 2005, His Highness directed to thrash out integrated and comprehensive solutions for the area in order to accommodate the huge urbanisation projects in the neighborhood, particularly the JBR and the Marina.”

Al Tayer added that the decision to start a tram service was made after the RTA conducted a comprehensive study, which revealed that the area needs massive improvement in its road network and a mass transit system linking the Dubai Metro and the Monorail on the Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai’s public transport agency is expected to begin the second phase of the tram project soon, officials said earlier this week.

The second stage of the Dubai Tram will extend 14.6 km along Sufouh Street, RTA added, though it did not specify a start date.

The entire tram network spans 17 stations with the initial stage covering 11 stations including JBR 1, JBR 2, JLT, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Marina Towers, Mina Siyahi, Dubai Media City, the Palm Jumeirah, Knowledge Village, and Sufouh.

The tram fleet comprises 11 trams in the initial stage, with 14 trams to be added in the second stage, bringing total to 25 trams.

It is expected to serve about 27,000 riders at the start of operations in 2014, increasing to an estimated 66,000 by 2020.

“The tram aims to improve the mobility within Dubai in general and areas of tourist and economic importance served by the tramway in particular,” said Al Tayer.

“It also contributes to boosting the integrated public transport systems in the emirate, providing a smooth, handy and highly efficient transit experience within communities characterised by business and tourist importance in the city of Dubai.

“It also enhances the business, trade and tourism structures as well as the economic base of the emirate, besides minimising carbon emissions, sustaining the environment, and improving the living environment of residents,” he added.

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Nakheel on Wednesday announced a net profit of AED2.60 billion ($707.8 million) for the first nine months of 2014 – higher than the company’s profit for the whole of 2013.

It also represented an increase of 47 percent on a profit of AED1.77 billion in the same period last year, the Dubai-based developer said in a statement.

Strong revenue from property development and ongoing improvements in Nakheel’s retail, leasing and leisure business performance contributed to these robust results, the company said.

During the nine months ending September 30, Nakheel added that it handed over 956 units to customers.

The statement said Nakheel had seen its retail and leasing businesses continuing to perform strongly, with almost full occupancy of available units for lease.

Commenting on the results, Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “We have achieved a higher profit for the first nine months of this year than we achieved throughout the whole of 2013, so we are poised to significantly exceed last year’s results in 2014.

“With the bank debt repaid early and new cash-generating assets coming on stream, Nakheel is well on course to further strengthen its business and financial position going forward. Our robust financial results reflect the growth in the real estate sector in Dubai, where Nakheel continues to play a strategic and important role.

“Since the financial year ending 2010, Nakheel has reported a year-on-year increase in net profit. Our financial performance reflects the strength of the underlying business, increasing investor trust and confidence in Nakheel and the on-going support of the Government of Dubai.”

Nakheel’s current portfolio of developments in Dubai includes Palm Jumeirah, The World, Deira Islands, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village, Jumeirah Park, Jumeirah Heights, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, Al Furjan, Warsan Village, International City and Villas at Nad Al Sheba.

Together, these span more than 14,000 hectares and provide homes for over 200,000 people. Retail developments include Dragon Mart, Ibn Battuta Mall, Nakheel Mall and Hotel, The Pointe at Palm Jumeirah, Deira Islands Mall, Jumeirah Village Triangle Mall and a growing number of neighbourhood malls. Nakheel is also developing hotels at Palm Jumeirah, Deira Islands, Ibn Battuta and Dragon Mart.

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Indian investors have always had a long-standing love affair with Dubai property. Earlier this year, figures from the Dubai Land Department showed that Indians were once again the top expatriate in the emirate, spending AED5.895bn ($1.6bn) in the first quarter of 2014.Indian investors

To put this figure into context, Indian investors spent AED8bn in the first half of 2013 and AED9bn in the whole of 2012. It’s also not just the amount that is surging: in second place were British citizens and Pakistanis, who accounted for just AED3.145bn and AED2.410bn, respectively.

But that was all in the first quarter of the year and recent changes in India are making it harder for Indians to invest overseas. Many Gulf-based real estate experts are concerned this might curtail investment into the region and the long-term implications are currently unclear.

The number of Indian nationals buying property in the Gulf is expected to decline after the new government removed an exemption on capital gains tax for those buying property overseas. Indians who sell property and buy another residence within two years, or within three years for newly built homes, are exempt from the 20 percent tax on capital gains — the profit made after taking inflation into account.

However, in releasing its first budget since being voted into office in May, Narendra Modi’s new government has amended a clause in the legislation to only allow the exemption when the subsequent property is bought in India. The change could affect thousands of Indian nationals who have invested in the Gulf.

“The benefit was intended for investment in one residential house within India. Accordingly, it is proposed to amend the aforesaid sub-section (1) of Section 54 to provide that the rollover relief under the said section is available if the investment is made in one residential house situated in India,” the budget documents said, making it clear that the government wanted to close the loophole and make sure that Indians invested in one place and one place only: India itself.

Narayan Jain, former general-secretary of the All India Federation of Tax Practitioners, told The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata that the new ruling will hit those who had planned to retire overseas. “Many a time we see old people selling their properties in India and moving abroad. They used to get the tax benefit. Now it will not be available any more,” he said.

The report also stated that the amendments would also dent the ambitions of high net worth individuals who were hoping to take advantage of the cooling price growth in the US and Dubai, a view that is shared by those Arabian Business spoke to locally.


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