Is Dubai’s unfinished Marina 101 skyscraper being placed on auction?

Marina 101
Did the Marina 101 just get put up for an auction? The luxury tower is 97.3% complete and property owners are unsure why this is being done. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Property owners in the Marina 101 skyscraper at Dubai Marina have just received a rude jolt – the entire building has been placed for sale on an auction site. And the reserve price is set at a “astonishingly low” Dh361.45 million for the May 26 auction.

Property owners that Gulf News spoke to say they were not consulted by whoever placed the building for auction. The project, launched in 2005, was 97.3 per cent complete when construction ground to a halt in mid-2019 over the developer’s debts.

“This is a project that’s 1 million square feet of built-up area – to set a reserve price of Dh361 million for a signature development in the heart of Dubai Marina is unheard of,” said a senior industry source who in the past had worked on a revival package for the Marina 101.

“At Dh361 million for a 1 million square feet tower, the price comes to about Dh360 a square foot – that’s lower than what you get in International City.”

The Marina 101 reportedly cost around Dh1 billion. Apart from the 2.7 per cent work on the exterior, it will need extensive interior works to be made fit for occupation.

At the base price, it works out to Dh360 a square foot – for a Dubai Marina skyscraper! It’s lower than at International City

– Property analyst

Kite flying

As of now, it’s unclear who authorised placing the building on the auction block. Banks have the right – but Marina 101 features many property owners who paid off 80 per cent and more on their Dh1 million plus apartments. Many had received their Oqood certificates as well, which are those registrations done on offplan sales with the Dubai Land Department.

“As far as know, most property owners, including myself, have not given any Power of Attorney to anyone on the apartments,” said Johan, one of the buyers. “Whoever put up the building for auction has not informed the buyer group.”

This is incorrect and we are trying to see how it can be corrected. The proposed auction petition was for the hotel part of the project, against court verified claims by BoB, IDD, AlGhurair, Classic and a few other companies. The auction has incorrectly portrayed it as a sale of the whole building. The matter is of course subjudice, and the final decision rests with the court.

Power of Attorney

The rules of auctioning delayed projects are quite clear. As much as possible, property owners must be brought on board or at least apprised of the plans.

According to one property owner, “This is an incorrect move – and we are trying to see how it can be corrected. The proposed auction petition was for the hotel part of the project against court verified claims by Bank of Baroda and other lenders.

“The auction has incorrectly portrayed it as a sale of the whole building. The matter is of course subjudice, and the final decision rests with the court.”

Finding that ‘right’ price

The planned auction could be a way for lender banks to gauge potential investor interest to take over the Marina 101.

“The reserve price set for the auction is close to the banks’ exposure to the project,” said an industry source. “Any bidder will want to know whether there are other liabilities involved as well.”

Mixed-use and massive

The Marina 101 was designed as a mixed-use high-rise, with nearly 300 hotel rooms and more than 400 apartments, including multiple duplexes. Many of the current owners had bought the units between 2015-17, when it was felt that an already much delayed project was finally going to get completed.

There were potential investor groups willing to take on the project and get it over the finish-line. In fact, talks of an informal nature were being held with the real estate authorities even on Tuesday, according to sources in the know.

According to one investor who has been giving it a thought, “If we come in to complete the project, we will make sure that all property owners get what they have paid for. Reviving this project is also of utmost importance to the wider property market in Dubai.”