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Santhosh Joseph

UAE, DUBAI - Real Estate & Construction

New Jewel In Town

President and CEO, Dubai Pearl

Bio

Santhosh Joseph is the President and CEO of Dubai Pearl. He has over 20 years of management experience developing and executing investment strategies and monitoring the growth of real estate at the international level. He began his career in Sales and Marketing in 1988, and founded Dubai Pearl in 2006.

"Dubai Pearl is an entirely new project being developed with the support of Abu Dhabi’s Al Fahim Group."

How did the Dubai Pearl project come about?

Dubai Pearl is an entirely new project being developed with the support of Abu Dhabi’s Al Fahim Group, one of the UAE’s most highly respected business groups. The simplicity of the new master plan and modularity of the construction grid has made the Dubai Pearl project scalable and relatively easy to deliver and maintain. The scheme is flexible and adaptable to any change in future demand.

What was your strategy when redesigning and reviving the original project plan?

The design of the Dubai Pearl development is reflective of its location at one of Dubai’s most prominent and strategic locations at the base of the Palm Jumeirah within the TECOM free zone—a mature free zone. This provides for 100% foreign ownership, and it enjoys 100% import and export tax exemption, 100% exemption from commercial levies, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, and only 5% import duty. Dubai has seen sustained interest in high-end developments from domestic and overseas buyers and we are aware that international buyer appetite for prime real estate opportunities is increasing. Comprising 1.86 million sqm, Dubai Pearl is currently the single largest luxury development being built in the emirate. It represents the next generation of luxury developments within the city, built to the highest architectural standards with an unrivalled grouping of global brand partners. We believe we have a unique and compelling offer in a market where the supply pipeline is slowing and where buyers are looking for the very best products.

As an individual with extensive international business expertise, how would you characterize this particular market in comparison to the surrounding markets that you are familiar with?

The global financial crisis has affected everyone in some way and Dubai is very much linked to the global economy, more so than perhaps any of its neighbors in the region, particularly given its international exposure in the real estate sector. Consequently, it was among the first to suffer with the downturn. This has presented the luxury property market here with some challenges and reduced overall confidence among some real estate developers. However, Dubai is also ahead of the curve in terms of its recovery with the prices generally stabilizing for quality properties. So despite existing challenges, this is the ideal time to be developing a project of this kind.

“Dubai Pearl is an entirely new project being developed with the support of Abu Dhabi’s Al Fahim Group.”

What was your resource mobilization strategy in terms of financing the project?

Pearl Dubai is being funded by a consortium of investors led by the UAE’s Al Fahim Group. Al Fahim of Abu Dhabi is a highly reputed business group in the UAE with a diverse portfolio of business interests spread across the Middle East.

The project was redesigned to include more residential space and less office space. Was this reflective of general low levels of demand for grade A commercial space in Dubai?

We have maximized the commercial opportunity without cutting corners on the quality of the design. Dubai Pearl will ultimately provide a home for 9,000 people and a workplace for 12,000 with convenient freehold ownership.

© The Business Year – March 2012

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