DUBAI: Heading out to pick up a Bulgari? Or do you want to see what Cavalli may have to offer?
These days in Dubai, don’t assume these names relate to just the finest pieces of branded jewellery and accessories to add sparkle to one’s personal self. Or in Cavalli’s case, even as the nightclub playing host to some of the most happening parties in a city that sees a fair share of them.
But, now, those brand names apply just as much to upscale homes. Both Bulgari from Meraas and “Just Cavalli” from Damac are among the most anticipated residential projects in Dubai. And Armani’s been around a while.
But for the wealthy investor, does such a branding matter as much it does for someone buying jewellery from the same label?
According to Brigitte Tenbergen, Luxury Sales Specialist at Luxhabitat, it depends on the sort of win-win alliance that the brand and the developer bring to the table.
“The combination of a well-known developer who has delivered quality projects and collaboration with a world-renowned brand is the secret to a super-premium offering that sells well with prospective buyers,” Tenbergen said.
“We are not aware of any of the residences being made available in the secondary markets. And based on the interactions we’ve had with buyers, we’re confident the majority of the properties will be used by homeowners who are looking for an exclusive community in Dubai.”
Dubai, incidentally, is one of only six locations worldwide to host a Bulgari development. Coming up on Jumeirah Bay Island, there will only be 15 mansions and 165 apartments alongside a 52-berth marina and yacht club. The handovers are due to commence by year-end.
Being “one of only six places in the world where people can enjoy the fullness of the Bulgari lifestyle”, there is definitely a sense of exclusivity and the feeling that the homes have set a benchmark when it comes to architecture and interiors.
“It’s this lifestyle that prompts someone to buy into such developments and own a penthouse for Dh60 million, as we witnessed this May,” Tenbergen said.
According to pricing provided on several websites, a one-bed apartment would come to Dh4.5 million plus, while a three-bed ranges between Dh8.6 million and Dh10.5 million. And the mansions scale up from Dh18 million … and well over.
It has often been said that Dubai is the place where global brands come to soak up the sun and all of the adulation the city’s residents have for labels. So, when Damac tied up with Roberto Cavalli Group, it was the most natural brand extension for Cavalli.
A senior Damac executive makes it clear that such brand tie-ins have become a habit of sorts for the developer. “We pioneered the concept of branded real estate in Dubai by forging associations with global fashion houses such as Versace, Fendi and Just Cavalli,” said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice — President, Damac. (For good measure, Damac also has alliances with Paramount and Bugatti, and, of course, with The Trump Organisation.) The Just Cavalli homes will take up spots at the developer’s Akoya Oxygen cluster within Dubailand. “As with a number of our collaborations, our relationship has extended to more than one project — and also outside of Dubai,” McLoughlin said.
“And so, in future it could be possible to extend our association with Just Cavalli to other bespoke products, not just at Akoya Oxygen. Our association with Versace, for example, was initiated on our first project in Beirut and our project in London is also designed by this brand.
“The same can be said for Fendi, Paramount Hotels & Resorts as well as Trump-operated golf courses in Damac Hills and Akoya Oxygen.”
The developer is also hoping that enough of a fan base — skewing to a younger demographic — exists for them to turn up as buyers for these properties. “We aim to appeal to fans that follow specific brands and would love to incorporate their favourite style into their lifestyle and their home,” McLoughlin said.
The younger buyer profile is also why these homes come priced between Dh1.3 million and Dh1.85 million, and backed up with three-year payment plans.
The market is turning favourable for big — make that mega — ticket transactions. Omniyat sold a penthouse on its One Palm (at Palm Jumeirah) for Dh102 million, and Gulf Sotheby’s did quite well for itself finding a buyer to fork out Dh100 million for a villa at Emirates Hills.
In fact, Emirates Hills has seen quite a few high-value transactions in the year to date. (With Emirates Living homes, there can’t be any other type.) So, how well have sentiments turned around for wealthy investors seeking properties in Dubai?
“Interestingly enough, the high-end demand is still very strong,” said Tinbergen. “I have several buyers looking at options between Dh25 million and Dh40 million.”
Dubai’s real estate is getting all fashionable and there are discerning buyers out there who want it to be part of their lifestyle. It is a far cry from the times when developers used to bring in movie and sports stars to give their projects a brand name association. And then went nowhere with those plans. But that’s the past.
Today’s real estate is about brands and developers that are in for the long run. And the show has just begun.