Emaar brings in more outside expertise

11 February 2016

Real estate developer has a large portfolio of projects to deliver

Emaar Properties’ move to acquire a stake in South African consultancy firm Mirage Leisure & Development is the Dubai-based developer’s latest move to bring in expertise to manage its ever-growing portfolio of projects.

Emaar is traditionally regarded as the best-run developer in Dubai and its management team can boast some impressive achievements, including the delivery of the world’s tallest building – the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa.

Although Emaar managed to negotiate Dubai’s 2009 debt crisis relatively unscathed, it did lose some of the management that helped deliver these projects. Nevertheless, it was still quick to launch new projects when Dubai’s property market began to recover in late 2011.

With some of the old faces gone, there have been growing concerns in the market over whether Emaar still has the ability to manage such a broad portfolio of major projects. These doubts were fuelled further by changes to the senior management and new roles for the company’s chairman Mohammed Alabbar, that compete for his time along with Emaar.

For the past few years, Alabbar has also been working for Abu Dhabi-based developer Eagle Hills, which is working on a range of projects in overseas markets such as Nigeria, Serbia, and Jordan, and was connected to the new Capital City project in Egypt. Alabbar has been joined at Eagle Hills by several other Emaar executives.

Another key figure from Emaar’s past, Fred Durie, has left the company to run another Dubai-based real estate developer Nshama.

With a potential management deficit emerging, Emaar has moved to fill the void with outside expertise. This is not a new strategy. In 2006, Emaar formed a joint venture the US-based firm Turner Construction International to provide construction management services on all its developments, and that relationship continues today.

More recently, at the end of 2015 Emaar appointed UK-based Faithful+Gould to provide programme management services for Dubai Creek Harbour, which is its largest new development in Dubai.

The addition of Mirage’s capabilities will further enhance Emaar’s ability to deliver its projects successfully. At a time when confidence in Dubai’s real estate market is waning, a firm commitment to delivery can only be a positive sign.


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