Dubai-based AMWAJ Development is actively working on its extensive development pipeline for the next two years while exploring opportunities in the UAE and other regional markets, the company’s co-founder told Zawya Projects.

“The momentum in Dubai’s property sector continues to show resilience and growth year on year since its start in early 2021,” said Co-founder and CEO Murad Saleh.

While the initial value growth began in the luxury segment last year, the mid-market is clearly catching up, he said, expecting the trend to continue through 2024 and 2025.

Although no tender details were given for the developer’s latest project - Starlight Park in Meydan’s District 11, Saleh said the timeline for tendering, from issuance to award, spans three to six months depending on the project's complexity.

“This timeframe is allowing us to thoroughly assess all proposals against our established benchmarks, ensuring each project meets our rigorous expectations for quality and efficiency,” he stated.

Murad Saleh, Co-founder and CEO, AMWAJ Development
Murad Saleh, Co-founder and CEO, AMWAJ Development
Murad Saleh, Co-founder and CEO, AMWAJ Development

Excerpts from the interview:

What market factors compelled you to launch Starlight Park in Meydan’s District 11? 

We wanted to create an outstanding living community that sets a benchmark for affordable luxury and design, while also being part of a vibrant, centrally located area such as Meydan with easy access to all of Dubai’s great amenities and attractions.

We looked at several areas and felt that Meydan offered a unique style of community living while being close to the heart of Dubai.  With this in mind, we decided to develop a 5-storey cluster of four buildings that would cater to the needs of families and deliver a range of amenities that provide entertainment as well as comfort.

Residents in each of the four buildings will have access to amenities that include a common outdoor garden oasis, rooftop pool, gym, rooftop cinema, indoor/outdoor kids play areas, yoga and boxing studios, paddle tennis area and a resident’s lounge for tenants to relax and enjoy the open spaces.

What is the cost of the residential project?

We took care to select the right location, materials and fittings to ensure that tenants enjoy elevated living standards in an affordable community. No expense has been spared in order for us to achieve this.

When did you acquire the land for the project? Are you now seeing an increase in land price in the master development?

We aquired the plot with the aim of developing something really special and to create a family-centric community that people will enjoy living in.

As you can see, demand for properties in Dubai continues to increase year on year, and this is reflected in the rising land prices. That said, Dubai remains much more competitive price-wise than many other cities around the world. 

As long demand continues, the market will react accordingly and you can expect property values continue to rise. Investors and home buyers are flocking to the market because they see the rising value of their investments and are confident that they are putting their money in the right city.

What are the biggest challenges you see in the coming years? How are you planning to overcome them?

Inflation and interest rates certainly have an impact on real estate demand as we have seen in the US and in many parts of Europe.  The UAE market, and particularly Dubai, are resilient economies with a robust roadmap for growth over the coming decades.

If you look at long-term initiatives like Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan and the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, you have a clear roadmap for the government’s strategy to encourage national growth across a multitude of sectors, all of which will fuel further demand for commmercial, industrial and residential real estate development.

The Dubai 2040 Urban Plan is an ambitious but meticulously planned strategy that will see the emirate increase its population from the current 3.6 million residents to 7.8 million during the next 16 years.

I believe that Dubai will continue to attract more expats and investors who will be part of this incredible strategy.  

What is the tendering timeline for the project?

We take great care in planning our tendering processes well in advance to uphold the highest standards of precision and transparency. The timeline for tendering, from issuance to award, typically spans three to six months depending on the project's complexity. This timeframe is allowing us to thoroughly assess all proposals against our established benchmarks, ensuring each project meets our rigorous expectations for quality and efficiency. Our dedication to detailed planning ensures that we consistently deliver exceptional results.

Are you seeing an increase in construction costs in the UAE?

Construction costs have risen due to increased material demand, rising costs of logistics and global inflation.  This has had an impact on all developers but through careful sourcing and resource planning, strong supply chain relationships and cashflow management, the impact can be mitigated to ensure that developers can deliver on time and on budget.

Who is the project’s architect? What is your project’s USP in terms of design?

The architect for Starlight Park project is from our own in-house team. We have a team of highly skilled and professional architects who meticulously design each project to reflect our unique identity. This internal collaboration ensures that every design is not only innovative and sustainable but also aligns with our commitment to eco-friendly solutions and community-oriented spaces.

In terms of design, we are commited  to eco-friendly practices and the creation of vibrant, smart homes that elevate living standards. Our approach focuses on integrating green spaces and advanced technology to enhance the living environment, providing residents with not only a place to live but a place to thrive. 

When do you intend to deliver the project?

Starlight Park is set for delivery in the second quarter of 2026.

What will be the sustainable elements of the project? 

As a developer, we are committed to using sustainable practices and materials across all our projects, including landscaping. Our green spaces are not just visually appealing but are designed to improve the overall environmental quality of the community we build. We try to use eco-friendly materials whenever possible, particularly in our building materials and finishings. For example, we opted for low-voltage lighting solutions and other elements that have a lower environmental impact. This selective approach helps us ensure that every aspect of our development supports sustainable living while delivering the high standards our residents expect.

How much landbank do you own in Dubai/UAE? Are you continuing to increase it?

We currently hold a significant portfolio of land in some of the most sought-after areas in Dubai, including prime locations such as Meydan. Our strategy involves maintaining a substantial landbank but also actively seeking opportunities to expand it. This process of acquisition is ongoing and strategic, focusing on areas that promise high growth potential and align with our vision for future developments. We are committed to continuously enhancing our land holdings to support our development plans and meet the growing demand for high-quality, sustainable living spaces in the UAE.

You declared a development pipeline of over 1.5 million square feet (sq ft) in new residential projects by 2024 and over 2 million sq ft in construction by 2025. Could you share some details?

We are proactively working on an extensive development pipeline. While we are excited about these projects, we are currently in the strategic planning phase. 

Are there plans to enter other emirates and markets in the Middle East? 

We are exploring opportunities in the UAE, as well as other markets in the region.  We already have development experience in the region and in Europe, and we will continue to build on our past success in new markets as opportunties present themselves.

How do you plan to fund Starlight Park?

We are self-funding the project entirely to ensure that we have complete control over the project delivery timelines and to maintain financial flexibility to react to project requirements swiftly without dependence on external financing.

Could you share your business plan for 2024 and 2025?

AMWAJ is proactively working on an extensive development pipeline for the next two years. Our focus at the moment in residential but we will consider other segments as opportunities present themselves.  We are currently focused on strategic planning and will share more information once we have firmed up projects.

The construction industry faces headwinds regarding rising interest rates and persisting supply chain challenges concerning construction materials. What steps have you taken to overcome these obstacles? 

Construction material availability and costs are impacted by external forces.  We carefully plan our project needs well ahead of time to ensure availability and cost-effectiveness of the materials we acquire. We mitigate the impact of dynamics in advance to ensure that we can continue to perform and deliver our projects on time.

What is your outlook on the real estate market in the UAE, particularly Dubai, over the next two years?

The momentum in Dubai’s property sector continues to show resilience and growth year on year since its start in early 2021. Demand shows no signs of letting up as more people including many of the world’s wealthiest flock to this young metropolis in search of a better quality of life for their families while taking advantage of Dubai’s strategic geographic location and its business-friendly regulations.

Demand for affordable and mid-market apartments has been the primary driver as Dubai continues to attract more residents and small business owners who are looking for affordability and quality.  While the initial value growth started in the luxury segment last year, the mid-market is clearly catching up. We see this trend continuing for through 2024 and 2025.

What kind of ROI can investors expect from Starlight Park?

The high demand for affordable, high-quality apartments and the significant price uplift in luxury properties has helped to raise the price of apartments across all of Dubai’s neighbourhoods. The apartment segment saw an overall year on year increase of 11 percent in 2023, the highest capital growth for apartments in over 10 years, according to analysts.

If this rising trend continues through 2026, investors in Dubai’s properties will certainly see strong returns on their investments. We believe that Dubai’s continued economic growth trajectory will remain a key driver in demand for properties and thus create strong returns for owners.

(Reporting by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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