The launch of Lawnz, the latest of Danube Properties’ residential developments, has been consistent with the company’s brand narrative of consumer-friendly price points and a luxury quotient uncommon in a decidedly budget-conscious segment. The Dh550-million project, a gated residential complex in International City phase one, is the company’s most expensive and biggest to date with over 1,000 apartments. It will offer a bevy of amenities, including a 150m canal and an outdoor cinema within a 3.8-acre central promenade.
In a market that has thrived in superlatives, such conveniences are nothing out of the ordinary. But for a residential development where a big chunk of apartments start at around Dh290,000, questions about its feasibility are bound to arise. “Yes, it is a massive project, but we did a very careful study during the design phase to ensure that we achieve the right price, quality, design,” says Atif Rahman, the firm’s director and partner, noting that making the project efficient in virtually all aspects is key to its competitive pricing.
“We did intense value engineering to bring down the cost of construction.”
The project’s concept itself has contributed to the space and cost efficiencies. Lawnz is built on plots earmarked for 11 buildings; instead of constructing separate towers, Danube is merging the plots to build a gated residential complex with shared amenities.
Danube executives Atif Rahman (left), Rizwan Sajan and Anis Sajan present a one-bedder show apartment during the launch
“If I were to build 11 towers, then I would make 11 entrance lobbies, 11 garbage chutes, that many more parking accesses and exits, and the cost would have continued to grow,” explains Rahman. “What we did was we merged the plots and created economies of scale. By virtue of the value engineering, we were able to make some savings, which we then invested to increase the number of amenities.”
Nearly half of the 1,064 residences will be studios, while around 40 per cent will be one-bedroom apartments. The rest will be two-bedroom units. Studios start at Dh290,000, one-bedders from Dh499,000 and two-bedders from Dh699,000. There are a number of properties in International City being advertised within the same price range, including several units in the secondary market, although Danube believes its overall value proposition gives Lawnz an edge. The developer has revealed that 80 per cent of phase one, comprising 515 units, has been sold within three days of its launch.
“If the customer is not fast in reacting, they will lose this opportunity,” says Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group.
10 years more
According to Rahman, up to 60 per cent of the plot will be developed for amenities and landscaping, including a sunken plaza, health club, swimming pool, steam and sauna room, multipurpose hall, jogging track, barbecue deck, badminton court and multipurpose court. Services charges would range from Dh12-Dh14.
Sajan says he plans to launch two more projects within the year, including one during the third quarter. While other emirates present opportunities, including Sharjah, which has allowed non-residents to purchase property, Sajan believes Dubai will remain a hotbed for affordable housing development for the next decade.
“Maybe in the future [I will build projects outside Dubai],” he says. “But for our type of product, I think for the next 10 years I have enough work in Dubai because still 85 per cent of the people stay in rental apartment. Majority of my friends stay in rental apartments and I would want them to buying their own property.”
Construction of the project is expected to start in the third quarter of 2018 with completion in 2020.