UAE building S$150m Singapore Tower in Abu Dhabi

As a sign of the growing business ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore, a S$150 million Singapore Tower is being built in Dubai.

The project was unveiled by AKAR Properties on Friday.

The UAE property developer is targeting the high-end office building not just at Singapore companies in the Middle-East, but also at other Asian businesses. When completed in 2008, the Singapore Tower will take its pride of place at the new Dubai Business Bay that is being developed at a cost of S$86 billion.Singapore Tower will have approximately 240,000 square feet of nett-leasable space.

It is designed by Singapore-based Ong and Ong Architects.

AKAR Properties hopes that the 20-storey building can become an enclave for the growing Asian business community in the Middle-East.

Sultan Hareb Al Falahi, CEO of AKAR Properties, says: “The Singapore Tower is made for Singaporeans and Asians, not only Singaporeans. We believe in our relationship with Singapore and we believe Singaporeans are closer to us as a relation.”

“UAE is a small country serving big nations; Singapore is also serving huge Asian nations, so we are having something closer to each other,” he says.

The developer believes it will be able to recoup its investment in 10 years from leasing the office property at a fixed rental rate.

AKAR is part of a business delegation from the UAE which is in Singapore to attract investors and source opportunities.

Dubai Properties is also part of the team.

It is here to market its wide-range of properties that range from residential to entertainment.

Fahad Al Gergawi, Director of Internal Business Development, Dubai Properties, says: “We are really coming to Singapore to look at opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that opportunities will be from Singaporeans only. We are very sure that Singapore really caters to a bigger and wider area in
Asia and beyond sometimes.”

Going forward, we can expect to see more businessmen from the UAE in the region, as a lot of the developers are now setting their sights on the property market here, especially on the high-end property sector.

Property aside, the Singapore Business Federation says that there are opportunities in other sectors here open to businesses from the UAE.

Philip Forrest, Deputy Honorary Secretary of Singapore Business Federation, says: “When you think about the two economies, they have so many similarities – small populations but really quite wealthy. And the people of UAE need exactly the same sort of things that Singaporeans need. So there are opportunities in the retail sector, and logistics is an important area, as a gateway to the rest of the region.”

And the UAE is also keen to attract Singapore investment.

Rashed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, says: “And now the government of the UAE looks at Singapore as a model in many areas, especially in Abu Dhabi. We’re developing five industrial areas and we have sought the expertise of Singapore to help us develop these industrial areas. I see more of such relationships growing in the future.”

Also in the pipeline is a possible Singapore investment for the construction of a S$500 million hotel in the UAE.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 27 October 2006

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