Dubai: Dubai's property market has had its share of tall claims from developers, with many of them never making it beyond the drawing board. But this developer has certainly delivered on its promise.
At 348 metres and 86 floors, The Torch in Dubai Marina has won formal recognition as the world's tallest residential tower, surpassing the earlier claimant, the Q1 Tower in Australia's Gold Coast (323 metres).
To lay claim to the title, The Torch met the requirement set by the likes of Emporis Standards Committee and the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat, in that a building should at least have 90 per cent residential use to qualify.
The Torch's newfound status sits well with what Dubai and its towers have achieved in the recent past, most notably by the Burj Khalifa's 828 metres. In fact, Dubai has got strong representation in the Emporis Standards Committee's list of the world's tallest residential towers.
The Torch, a development by UK-based Select Group, is set to take in its first residents next month. While chuffed at the new accolade, the developer is also sitting pretty as more than 80 per cent of the 676 apartment units have buyers.
The units carry a price tag of Dh1,000 a square foot and up. So what made investors hold on in a soft market?
"The prime location and design was the key offering, in addition to us offering lengthy payment plans beyond the completion dates," said Rahail Eslam, CEO. "If we look at Torch prices when we originally sold, they are still resilient in today's market.
"The properties were sold at reasonable levels and we had active construction throughout the tough economic period. All of these taken together certainly contributed in retaining the majority of the investors."
According to a spokesperson at Better Homes' Dubai Marina office, quality builds have been able to hold their market value, currently averaging around Dh1,100-Dh1,200 a square foot, "while poorly constructed properties are having a harder time matching market rates".
The investments were substantial at Dh665 million. "The group has invested substantial equity to complete our projects," said Eslam.
"Payments have been well-aligned and we have managed the cashflow very carefully to ensure completion of all our on-going projects. We had fixed contracts in place and were therefore not affected by fluctuations of materials costs."
The developer has another three high-rises in Dubai Marina scheduled for delivery this year including Bay Central, a mixed-use development featuring two residential blocks and a five-star hotel.
A second five-star hotel will be delivered by early 2013. Also scheduled for this year is the Botanica, a 41-storey development with a botanical garden on the 27th floor.