DAMAC Properties Hits Construction Milestone in Saudi Arabia

Sun, 27 Feb, 2011


DAMAC Properties, the largest private real estate developer in the Middle East, has completed the raft foundation for its iconic ‘Al Jawharah Tower' in Jeddah, KSA.

The main contractors M/s Drake & Scull JV have now finished the foundation works and all basement levels. The pouring of the raft is a significant development in the construction process.

"This is a major milestone in the construction of Al Jawharah Tower. The foundations are crucial for the super-structure, but they take time to complete. Work will now really begin to accelerate and it should be a floor a week from this point forward" said Niall Mc Loughlin, Senior Vice President DAMAC Properties.

Pouring the raft involved laying 420 tons of steel and 7 thousand cubic meters of concrete. "The sheer volumes of raw materials used in the foundations are staggering. 420 tons of steel is the equivalent of more than 4-hundred motor vehicles, and 7 thousand cubic meters of concrete, would be enough to fill 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools" Mc Loughlin added.

Al Jawharah Tower, located on the Jeddah Corniche on the coast of the red sea, is a 48-storey architectural masterpiece. The sleek, modern tower will be an iconic landmark, with its clean lines and shifting, interlocking façade defining the unique design.

The complexity of Al Jawharah's external façade creates reflective panels which disperse and refract light, creating an illusionary effect. The dramatic exterior creates the framework for the spectacular interior design. Al Jawharah is the height of sophistication, with a grand reception area with double height lobby, designer guest lounge and concierge.

A spectacular residential tower, it offers luxurious 5 bedroom penthouses and 4, 3, 2 & 1 bedroom apartments. It will also offer residents separate male and female health clubs, which include gymnasiums, swimming pools and spa and sauna rooms.

Mc Loughlin commented; "Al Jawharah will set a new benchmark for luxury in Saudi Arabia. It is DAMAC Properties' debut project in the Kingdom, and it is important that we make a statement with this development"

Al Jawharah is being constructed in four major stages, with stage one defined as the basement to the ground floor; stage two from ground floor to the health club level; stage three from the health club level to level 20; and stage four from level 20 to the top floor.

DAMAC Properties is extremely bullish on the property sector in the Kingdom over the next few years. Mc Loughlin noted; "There are three main factors which are working to stimulate demand at the moment, most notably, the surge in oil prices, government spending on infrastructure and an easing of restrictions on foreign ownership."

The regulatory framework of the real estate market has been a key focus for authorities in the Kingdom this year, with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Industry introducing new world class laws to advance the off-plan real estate market, by making it more transparent and accessible, as well as offering additional protection and services to investors and customers.

Saudi Arabia has also relaxed real estate and investment laws to allow expatriates residing and working in the kingdom to purchase and own properties there. In addition to the establishment of Freezone economic cities, authorities in the Kingdom are now allowing foreigners to purchase property after obtaining permission from the Saudi Interior Ministry.

"The regulatory reforms, aimed at progressing Saudi Arabia's property sector, will boost confidence and spur investment in the real estate market. This is a real turning point for construction and development in the Kingdom" Mc Loughlin added.

The property market in KSA is underpinned by strong economic fundamentals, with the IMF predicting private sector growth of 4.6 per cent and overall GDP growth of 4.2 per cent. The higher oil price will also contribute to investor confidence, with the price of oil recently soaring to a two-year high.

DAMAC Properties has been present in the Saudi market for five years, and was among the first to be granted an official license to develop and sell properties offplan under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom's new real estate law.

"International developers are now being invited into the Kingdom to help grow the property sector. Internationally recognised developers, such as DAMAC Properties, have a proven track record and the knowledge and expertise to take the development of Saudi Arabia's property sector to the next level" Mc Loughlin said.

Driving both the economy and the real estate market in KSA is the size and rapid growth of the population. Saudi Arabia's population has been growing at the fastest rate in the world over the past decade. As a result, the nation has a very young demographic profile, with around 45% of the population currently aged below 20 years old. The young population and rapid rate of urbanisation have been the major demographic factors driving the real estate market, with many young professionals now looking for apartments away from the traditional family home.

Saudi Arabia is an attractive market to invest as it has no income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax on property investments. Jones Lang LaSalle is predicting property prices in the kingdom's capital may rise up to 10 per cent a year for the next two years.