NABNI Developments, rooted in a family legacy of entrepreneurialism, began its journey by introducing luxury Italian furniture to Dubai in the early ‘90s. Over time, they expanded into the automotive industry, founding the 'German Cars Company' and securing the title of the UAE's first official agent for renowned luxury and supercar brands like Lamborghini, before ultimately venturing into luxury real estate.

The company’s co-founder and CEO Badr Alsuwaidi said these ventures provided invaluable insights into the significance of delivering excellence to clients through top-tier design and quality.

“We were convinced that our hands-on approach to building and design, veering away from the cookie-cutter model with a commitment to working with the best architects and designers in the world and using only premium quality materials would resonate with the market,” he explained in an interview with Zawya Projects.

Al Jaziri Properties was established in 1999, and later rebranded to NABNI Developments in 2022. The company has distinguished itself in a competitive market with a pioneering approach to building and design, exemplified by projects like Dubai’s first smart building with the Middle East’s first-ever, German-made Thyssenkrupp destination control elevator.

“Since then, we've embarked on several residential projects, each meticulously crafted with an unwavering focus on design, quality, and innovation,” said Alsuwaidi.

In March this year, the company partnered with Hilton to launch the Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown - the first-ever standalone Waldorf Astoria residential address outside of the United States.

Simultaneously, luxury is not sought at the detriment of sustainability; rather, priority is given to energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy in all NABNI endeavors.

“We believe in the need to exceed expectations not just in building socially responsible communities but also in providing added value for residents, and this is achieved by stringently following Dubai Green Building Code,” said Alsuwaidi. 

Looking ahead, the developer envisions further growth, with plans to expand its footprint in Dubai and undertake multiple building projects. Their portfolio spans over 1.1 million square feet of built area with a land bank exceeding 500 million UAE dirhams, reflecting their commitment to further expansion.

“Our vision as a leading real estate developer aligns with Dubai's ambition to be a global leader in luxury real estate, emphasising innovation, quality, and sustainable development,” said Alsuwaidi.

Badr Alsuwaidi, Co-founder and CEO, Nabni Developments
Badr Alsuwaidi, Co-founder and CEO, Nabni Developments
Badr Alsuwaidi, Co-founder and CEO, Nabni Developments

Excerpts from the interview:

What milestones or achievements are you most proud of since the establishment of NABNI Developments? 

Over the past 25 years, we have achieved some remarkable milestones by consistently delivering innovative projects that redefine urban living through exemplary designs. Our prestigious portfolio includes landmark projects such as the iconic Lamborghini Building on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Our ability to sell units so quickly post-launch, for example, the Avenue Residences cluster in Al Furjan, demonstrates how strong our market presence is for meeting customer expectations for luxury and quality living spaces for families. NABNI Developments portfolio includes over 11 projects encapsulating over 800 units and over 400 units in planned development projects.  

Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown is another landmark milestone in our company’s journey, showing our commitment to elevating luxury living in the Middle East.

Could you share some insights into the process of selecting prime locations for your projects? What is the size and value of the company’s land bank? Are you considering expanding the land bank? 

In our view, Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world with an abundance of prime locations ripe for development. Currently, our portfolio spans over 1.1 million square feet of built area across key locations in the UAE. Reflecting our ambition for growth, our land bank exceeds 500 million UAE dirhams ($136 million). This underscores our commitment to further expansion and development within the UAE. While our primary focus lies in converting our existing landbank into active projects, we anticipate acquiring additional land towards the year's end for future endeavours.

When scouting for locations, accessibility and existing development infrastructure are pivotal considerations. Take for instance our Avenue Residences, from 1 to 6, are strategically situated in the heart of Al Furjan. This up-and-coming neighbourhood offers unparalleled convenience, with easy access to Dubai's major road networks.

Al Furjan's appeal extends beyond mere accessibility; it boasts a great family-friendly environment with numerous upcoming developments. Additionally, proximity to retail centers catering to daily needs enhances its allure. From an investment standpoint, Al Furjan has proven to yield excellent rental returns, further solidifying its status as a promising investment destination.

How does NABNI balance the pursuit of luxury and innovation with sustainability and environmental impact considerations in its projects? 

In every project we undertake, energy efficiency and renewable energy integration are prioritised to ensure the highest quality build, coupled with sustainable solutions. We strategically choose our partners based on their reputation for excellence and our shared commitment to upholding best practices in building standards, ensuring that we have the right team on the ground to deliver a world-class project.

What strategies does NABNI employ to stay at the forefront of innovation in real estate development? Can you share some insights into the collaborative process with renowned architects and designers? 

Keeping a finger on the pulse of trends is crucial for us to stay innovative and ensure we're delivering exceptional value to our customers, especially in the construction and real estate sectors. We're always on the lookout for emerging trends globally, particularly in sustainability and the use of cutting-edge materials. With a dedicated team of consultants by our side, we continuously explore ways to integrate new techniques, design elements, and technological features into our projects.

As for working with renowned architect Carlos Ott, our relationship with him goes way back. We partnered with him for our first iconic project in Dubai called Business Avenue, given his stellar reputation as a world-renowned architect and his unique style.

Additionally, we've partnered with Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) for interior design on other ventures. Working closely with both Carlos and HBA, my team and I strive to blend innovative designs seamlessly, creating iconic and immersive living spaces and hospitality experiences.

While they offer a global perspective, our local team here in Dubai brings invaluable insights into the nuances of the region, ensuring that each project is thoughtfully tailored to meet local expectations and preferences.

Looking to the future, what are NABNI's goals and aspirations, both in terms of project development and broader impact within the real estate sector? 

NABNI saw an opportunity in the market to provide a much more personalised, bespoke, and detail-oriented proposition for discerning customers who want to live in quiet luxury. Our portfolio exemplifies NABNI Developments leading position in the real estate sector.

Our portfolio includes the Avenue Residence projects cluster in Al Furjan, which have performed with outstanding results within the luxury segment. Our legacy projects such as the Business Avenue building, Lamborghini Building and Mirdif 10 Villas that are successfully established within Dubai’s iconic landmarks.

We have an exciting line up of pipeline projects including the anticipated Avenue Residence 7 project, and our first foray into the Branded Residences segment with Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown.

 What is the project pipeline looking like for this year and next? How are you financing your projects? 

NABNI has a pipeline investment of over 2.2 billion UAE dirhams worth of projects. This includes our upcoming projects, the soon-to-be handed-over Avenue Residence 4 in Al Furjan, as well as the upcoming Avenue Residence 5, and Avenue Residence 6 in the coming years. We have funded the projects and investment into NABNI Developments, underscoring our commitment to contribute towards Dubai’s infrastructure development.

What is your take on construction costs in Dubai? Developers have had to deal with supply chain challenges and a shortage of reliable contractors. How are you addressing these issues? 

We have witnessed a 2 – 3 percent cost hike in construction in the UAE this year, following an increase of 3 percent in 2023 but this is not a UAE-only problem, as costs are higher in Saudi Arabia for example. It’s reflective of the wider shifting economic landscape, globally, the cost of raw materials such as steel, cement, and concrete are on the rise, which is exacerbated by rising inflation and a lack of skilled workers.

We all know the challenges but it’s how we respond to these rising costs that will distinguish one developer from another. In NABNI’s case, this means being fluid with our strategic decision-making and making a pivot as and when required. Also, we’re leveraging data analytics to find solutions to these challenges so we can better predict costs and be more efficient and cost-effective in project management. 

What is your market outlook over the next two years?? 

The UAE has positioned itself as one of the top global destinations and the incredible growth in the real estate market continues to reflect that; strategic initiatives such as the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031 and the ‘We the UAE2031’ are set to make the country even more appealing to investors, solidifying the UAE’s luxury real estate market positioning in the global landscape.  

(Reporting by Anoop Menon; Editing by Bhaskar Raj)


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