Doha to have 800 towers in 10 years

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Doha to have 800 towers in 10 years
http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=200798&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16

DESPITE rising inflation Doha will become one of the "busiest" construction areas in the world in the next 10 years or so, Damac Properties CEO Peter Riddoch has said.

"Over the next 10 years some 800 new towers will come up in Doha making it one of the busiest construction sites in the world," he said in an interview with Gulf Times here yesterday.

Of all the sectors that have benefited from Qatar's recent economic boom, the construction industry is the "most fortunate", he said. The influx of liquid assets has brought about massive infrastructure, business and luxury projects in all corners of Qatar, Riddoch said.

"If you look at the expansion of Doha International Airport, which is one of the high profile developments currently under way with a projected price tag of $2bn in the first phase, and other government-contracted projects including major highways network expansion, you will be able to observe the large amount of investments that are being channelled into this sector. The private sector is also building rapidly. Damac Properties is one of the first developers in the region to enter Qatar's market with a long term vision to cope with the rapidly expanding economy," he said.

A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Qatar's per capita income will have jumped 12.5% to $70,754 in 2007 and the estimated figure for 2006 stood at $62, 9214. Projections are that Qatar's GDP will rise 12% a year all the way through to 2012, resulting in the influx of expatriate workers who will have the opportunity to buy properties in the State.

Riddoch, however, admitted the region's high inflation in Qatar had affected the State’s construction industry. The imports have become costlier. There is also a shortage of construction materials.

Qatar's inflation is the highest in the Gulf and expected to jump to around 15% in 2008 from a previous high of 13.7% in September 2007.
"But I understand the Government of Qatar is working on promoting the need for sand processing plants and for constructors to use locally produced materials wherever possible to reduce overheads," he said.

Riddoch said Damac Properties' strategic planning and business forecast before entering any market had helped it minimise the impact of any change on the economic climate in the place concerned.

Riddoch said the demand on luxury properties is increasing day by day in the GCC market mainly due to increasing individual income, which already is the highest in the region.

"The demand on luxury properties is increasing day by day not only in the GCC market, but also in other markets such as Jordan and Egypt where we are targeting the middle and upper segments of customers who are in need of or desire luxury end living, retail space or properties for commercial use.

"We offer exclusivity, luxury and quality and there is no dearth of investors from the region and outside. Besides Qataris and residents, we have investors from the UK, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and they are willing to invest in luxury properties in Qatar. Shortly we will be opening more sales offices in other European countries such as Italy and Germany as part of our global sales strategy. Additionally, very soon in market such as Qatar, Egypt and Jordan we will be serving the upper middle class segment through an extremely competitive financing model with more than one large bank and other financial firms," he said.

On Damac's Qatar operations Riddoch said, "The Piazza project at Lusail is one of our success stories not only in the State but also in the region as a whole. The company is eager to replicate this success in future projects in Doha as the city is getting in for a major facelift. We are looking at the right opportunities here. We have recently expanded our operation by enlarging our sales force and market presence in Doha. Additionally, we have been conducting road shows and sales presentation for our clients in Qatar in order to give them the opportunity to have a closer look at our exclusive projects in the region."