- PNC Menon, Founder & Chairman, Sobha Group, Dubai
The Dubai market is currently viewed as economically strong, with political stability, and more importantly, advanced infrastructure. Undoubtedly, it is a hub for international connectivity - with Dubai airport beating Heathrow at being the busiest airport last year. Taking advantage of this economic stablility, one of India's leading developers Sobha Group has launched its $4 billion Sobha Hartland Dubai project, a mixed-use development project on the iconic Dubai Water Canal. The project boasts of a limited collection of ultra-contemporary villas, townhouses, modern mid and high-rise apartments. PNC Menon, Founder & Chairman, Sobha Group, Dubai, in an exclusive interview with CW, shares more on what prompted the company to invest in the Dubai market and an update on its iconic project.
What compelled the company to set its footprint in the Dubai real estate market? What are the building opportunities you foresee?
Sobha Group is a multinational, multiproduct group with developments and investments in the UAE, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei and India. Dubai is a beacon for 3.5 billion people with the Indian sub-continent and Gulf (GCC) countries its main consumers.
So, there was an opportunity to build something special for them in Dubai. Dubai is one of the safest cities with all the necessary infrastructure. The state-of-the-art technology system supports Dubai's growth by encouraging investment, and reflects Dubai's position as a leading investment destination that adopts modern technologies in its economic activities. All these factors contributed to setting up Sobha Group's footprint in Dubai. There are a multitude of opportunities in Dubai. Since it is the only place to have an expat population exceeding its own population, the country is considered one of the most cosmopolitan and beneficial for any business. In terms of our projects, we are the only ones to set up a community structure in the very heart of the town with Sobha Hartland.
Drawing from your India experience, where you are among the leaders, what is the expertise that you bring to the Dubai market?
Sobha Group is one of the most trusted brands today, and is a leading player in the Dubai market as well. With a legacy and track record of over 41 years, Sobha Group's vision is to be the most trusted and respected real estate organisation in the GCC and the neighbouring countries.
Sobha Group adheres to its unique quality as well. An important distinguishing factor for us is that we are the only backward integrated real estate company in the world. We do everything from start to finish, hence we do not need to hire expertise in design, architecture, engineering, etc, from external sources. We ensure world-class and quality expertise from within Sobha Group itself and continue to transform the way people perceive quality by pioneering innovative projects and exceeding customers' expectations across core markets.
What is the current status on your landmark project Sobha Hartland?
Seventy per cent of Phase-I and Phase-II in Sobha Hartland has been sold out already. Construction of Hartland Greens Phase-I is on track and has been completed till G + 5 level and will be ready by December 2017. Construction of the Phase-II of Hartland Greens is already underway and the completion is expected by December 2018. Phase-III of the project is set to be launched shortly.
What is the project's USP? And tell us about the unique techniques being used to construct it.
Sobha Hartland is a resort-style luxury housing project encompassing 8 million sq ft of freehold community land in Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City. It is the only freehold community located on the Dubai Water Canal in the epicenter of Dubai, with an easy access to the city's hottest attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, Meydan Mall, Meydan racecourse, Ras Al Khor Wildlife sanctuary and others within a 3 km radius. Sobha as a brand, is known for great quality and customer trust, which has been its USP all along. The project's offering of large lavish homes, coupled with excellent payment plans, makes it a special project.
How has the project been designed?
Sobha Group has designed apartments, quad homes and villas, keeping in mind each type of lifestyle, investment, preference and purpose, as there are both multiple options of layouts and sizes. Given our focus for quality and large lavish homes, coupled with excellent payment plans, Sobha Hartland is by far the most preferred choice for real estate investments.
Tell us about your experience in sourcing labour for the Sobha Hartland project in Dubai. Any additional investments being made by the company towards skilling?
Sobha Group is the only backward integrated real estate company in the world, which does everything in-house. As mentioned, we look into all the elements of project development from within our company itself - be it electricians, plumbers, architects, engineers, etc - all from within the group only. We practice this model world over. We feel this is the best way for us to ensure product quality as well as timely delivery, etc.