Ellington Properties, the Dubai-based development firm set up by Robert Booth, the former chief executive of Emaar Properties’ Dubai operations, is on track to hand over its first project by the end of the year.
The company, which Mr Booth set up in 2014 alongside his fellow managing director and shareholder Joseph Thomas, has already topped out its first project, Belgravia, which is a Dh200 million, four-storey scheme in Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) that it intends to begin handing homes over to clients by the end of the year. It contains 181 units and Mr Thomas said that about 97 per cent of these have already been sold.
Ellington Properties was set up in 2014 and it is currently either directly developing or advising on projects worth US$2 billion. It has a land bank of 3.6 million square feet, which Mr Thomas said it has been building for a number of years while valuations have been relatively low. This has been financed from the partners’ own resources, and from wealthy investors in its projects, including the Dubai businessman Raghu Kataria and the London internet entrepreneur Vikrant Bhargava.
The company has seven projects under development – all of which are in established areas of the city, according to Mr Booth. It has already begun to build DT1, a 17-storey tower containing 130 apartments in Downtown Dubai; a set of four luxury villas on Palm Jumeirah branded as The Ellington Collection; and a second, five-storey block in JVC with 188 units named Belgravia II.
It is also advising the entrepreneur Ravi Pillai on two of his major Dubai projects – the 50-storey, 268-unit RP Heights tower in Downtown Dubai and the RP One tower planned for Business Bay.
“That’s in design now, and we anticipate that we will start construction in November this year,” Mr Booth said.
He said that Ellington Properties was founded because “we saw an opportunity to position a real estate company as a boutique player – very design-led, product-led and most importantly very customer-focused.”
“If you look at consumers now, they are craving design,” said Mr Booth. “Look at the companies that are successful – Apple, Facebook, Samsung. These are all design-led companies, and that is really fundamental to our DNA.”
The company has 2,200 units under development, which it expects to build out within three years. However, it also has plans to develop up to 10,000 affordable rental units by 2020, which will be retained to provide a regular source of income, and a create a facilities management arm, Chrome & White, to maintain this stock.
“We have no desire to become the biggest developer, but we want to be the most respected,” said Mr Booth.
The luxury properties developer Luxhabitat said that transactions in Dubai’s prime residential market doubled quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of this year, with Dh3.2bn worth of deals completed in the 12 areas it monitors. It said 240 villas sold were at an average price of Dh5.9m and 957 apartments for an average of Dh1.9m. The three busiest areas for transactions were Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai.
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