'As the financial capital, Mumbai needs more luxury projects'
— Peter Riddoch, Chief Executive Officer, DAMAC
Dubai-headquartered DAMAC Properties, one of the most
successful residential, leisure and commercial property developers in Dubai and
Middle East, has outlined plans of investing $5 billion in India over the next
three years. Peter Riddoch spoke to Venugopal Pillai on the
Describe your plans of entering the growing Indian real
In view of the tremendous potential that the market holds, DAMAC foresees a good
investment portfolio in this region. We plan to invest $5 billion over the next
three years in India. DAMAC Properties envisages being the world's largest
luxury lifestyle provider.
We are the largest luxury focused private sector master developer and our
portfolio includes properties spread across 500 million square feet and is worth
in excess of $30 billion. By partnering with world renowned architects and
designers, DAMAC Properties aims to develop schemes that include residential,
commercial and leisure facilities that will create an integrated community. The
company's schemes are located in the most desirable and exclusive locations and
the homes are built to a high quality specification that has become synonymous
with the group.
In keeping with our philosophy I would like to mention that we will be focusing
on luxury-centric developments whether it is a tower or a township in India.
We are currently looking at Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. We are in the evaluation
phase. However we feel that the growth is more or less uniform across India at
this stage. Definitely, Tier 1 will command a premium but overall the country is
on a great growth path.
The luxury housing market is a fast growing sector and this can be observed by
the kind of communities, projects and developments that are taking place in
India. Mumbai is no exception. I am sure as the financial capital of India it
also needs more luxury projects.
As a potential investor in India, elaborate on your perceptions on India's
growing real estate market. What are demand drivers for residential projects?
The real estate story in India is growing bigger by the day. Industry experts
believe that real estate has huge demand potential in almost every sector,
especially commercial, residential and retail. Growth in commercial office space
requirement is led by the burgeoning outsourcing and information technology
industry. By 2010, the IT sector alone is expected to require 150 million sq. ft
of space across major cities.
It is estimated that in the residential sector there is a housing shortage of
19.4 million units out of which 6.7 million are in urban India. The increase in
purchasing power and exposure to organised retail formats has redefined the
consumption pattern. We foresee a very promising future for the Indian real
estate industry. Mumbai being the financial capital of the country will command
a premium but overall the country is on a great growth path.
Tell us more about DAMAC's highlighting projects (completed or
under-construction) in the Middle East.
We have world-class designers who ensure that our buildings are unique
masterpieces. For example, our Park Towers project at DIFC, the distinctively
styled tower, is reminiscent of The Gherkin in London, and is fully linked to
the DIFC by underground areas.
Park Towers at DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) will be built with
highest construction standards offering the latest in services and living
standards. DIFC will host leading financial service companies and investors and
we plan to build the best for them to suit their requirements.
The project includes 100,000 sq. ft of retail space over two levels connecting
into the DIFC retail spine and over 200,000 sq. ft of high quality office space
spread across seven floors.
DAMAC's La Residence at the Lotus is a spectacular 58-storey development located
at Business Bay-often referred to as the Manhattan of the Middle East.
Our Signature Residences at the 'Ocean Heights', the 82-storey award-winning
marvel in Dubai Marina and 'Lotus Heights' in the bustling Business Bay are yet
other masterpieces in the Middle East, confined to a few distinguished people in
the world. We at DAMAC take luxury very seriously.
DAMAC Properties recently appointed 60 agents in India to market its
worldwide properties amongst Indian buyers. How do you rate the purchasing power
of Indian buyers for overseas properties?
India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The purchasing power
also has gone up accordingly. If you look at the recent developments with regard
to real estate industry alone, the picture is quite positive and that has also
grown due to the buying power of consumers in India.
Elaborate on your plans to set up an academy in India to train agents.
We have academies in Dubai and we train our agents here. With regard to
academies in India, it is a little too early for us to comment on this one
however we are sure we will be in a position to share more details on this in
the near future.
What is your medium-term outlook for the Indian real estate market?
The Indian real estate market is expected to touch the $50 billion mark by 2010
and is a very important market for DAMAC Properties. In view of the tremendous
potential that the market holds, DAMAC foresees a good investment portfolio in
this region. India, we believe, is the fastest growing economy in the world and
we feel that it will continue to grow in the years to come.
[May 19-25, 2008]