Dubai-based developer Wasl Asset Management Group has appointed the local Sobha Engineering & Contracting for work on its $150m Hyatt Port Views project in Dubai.

The main construction contract involves building three 10-storey buildings with retail and dining units as well as all associated facilities.

The local Stromek Emirates is the contractor for the enabling works.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2018.

Wasl also recently invited firms to bid by 31 August for the contract to build its new high-rise project, Wasl Tower, on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road.

The 60-storey tower will be about 300 metres tall and will feature the world’s tallest ceramic facade. It has been designed by sustainability expert Werner Sobek and architect Ben van Berkel.

In an interview with MEED earlier this year, the developer’s CEO Hesham al-Qassim, said that moving forward Wasl will look to focus on hospitality and leisure. “We are planning to develop 15 hotels leading to 2019 (5,000 hotel rooms) Before Expo 2020 we plan on having 10,000 rooms.” Al-Qassim also told MEED that he believes that there is a big mismatch in the hotel market. “More than 70 per cent [of hotel supply is currently] in the 5 star range. We need to change that equation to have more affordable hotel rooms for city visitors.”

In February, Wasl awarded the local Al-Basti & Muktha was awarded an estimated AED700m ($190m) deal for the construction of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Dubai. The project is owned by Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC) and the local Wasl Hospitality is the development manager.

Dubai will survive current economic cycle

Hesham al-Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group

Hesham al-Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group

Hesham al-Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group

Dubai’s real estate market has continued to slow down, with transaction values dropping across all sectors. Analysts have struggled with agreeing on whether the slowdown is a sign of a market in despair amid economic challenges or simply one that is maturing and enduring a slight correction.

The most common explanation for the slowdown is dampened investor sentiment caused by falling oil prices, but other factors such as concerns of an oversupply have also put downward pressure on pricing.

MEED speaks to Hesham al-Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group in the company’s Dubai headquarters to gain an insight into the developer’s market projections and plans for the future. 

“The economy has its own cycle worldwide. Ultimately any development cycle is not less than 36 months – from idea to delivery you are looking at four years,” says Al-Qassim who says the developers in the region must not be heavily influenced by the current economic realities facing major cities such as Dubai. Read more.