TBY talks to Danny Lubert, Joint Chairman of The First Group, on the evolution of the real estate sector, and the opportunities opening up in Dubai.
THE BUSINESS YEAR How has the real estate and construction sector evolved since you first became involved in Dubai?
DANNY LUBERT We arrived in September 2005 as one of the first British developers since the Dubai freehold market was opened to foreign investors in 2002. It’s been a real privilege to actively contribute to the growth of the real estate and construction sector in the Dubai. The Emirate has seen unrivaled development, not just in the quantity but also the quality and creativity of projects.
What was your initial strategy when The First Group (TFG) entered the market?
Throughout our network, our strategy remains unchanged: deliver quality projects that ensure worry-free returns for our investors. We do our research so we can provide our clients with all the information they need to make informed decisions that meet their investment requirements.
What role does Dubai play in TFG’s regional operations?
With one-third of the world’s population based just four hours away, Dubai is a key hub for global business and travel. Its accessibility to the world’s business nerve centers has made it a must for most multinational corporations to have headquarters here.
What has attracted high-profile investors to work with TFG?
A commitment to excellence is part of our corporate DNA, and this shows as we continue to deliver innovative projects in the most desirable locations throughout the world. TFG’s team provides investors with the most reliable and up-to-date market information, instilling in them the confidence that we are working with their best interests at heart. Most of all, investors see TFG as a strong, independent organization that has grown throughout the years without compromising its values.
What are some of the larger projects that TFG has been involved in?
With every project we set out to create an iconic development that delivers the maximum level of returns for our investors. We’ve most recently handed over premier projects in the TECOM district, the up and coming central business district in Dubai, and are happy to report that the First Central and Metro Central projects are now running at a very high occupancy rate. Investor interest has also increased in commercial properties in Dubai, and so we have introduced the Service Office Leaseback Opportunity (SOLO) to offer straightforward investment solutions in this sector. With SOLO, investors can expect high capital growth whilst they benefit from a share in the exclusive commercial property’s rental yield. SOLO offices are serviced and self-contained and will be operated and managed by the Links Group; they will feature contemporary office spaces that run on SMART technology.
Will TFG be looking to capitalize on growth in the tourism and hospitality sector?
TFG is mostly concerned with developing and managing luxury hotel apartments, the demand for which—with the increase in tourist arrivals in Dubai—is constantly growing. We’ve also announced a new flagship project, TFG Marina Hotel, which will be located in the amazing Dubai Marina. We not only develop iconic properties, we also manage them for our clients through the dedicated TFG Asset Management division. Our aim is to continuously improve each project’s day-to-day operations while safeguarding owners’ interests and enhancing their returns.
How have you innovated in the market through your direct marketing initiatives?
To paraphrase Victor Kiam, “a great product without marketing equals scrap.” The key to success is first building a great product and supporting it with good sales and marketing. One of the things we pride ourselves on is our reputation as a trustworthy developer that delivers quality projects with great returns for our clients.
This interview was published in 'The Business Year: Dubai 2012'. To subscribe please e-mail us at email@example.com
© The Business Year - September 2012