Karachi’s skyline finally taking shape

DHA Phase VIII projects foresee completion in 3 years

By Faryal Najeeb
KARACHI: Karachi is creating a new skyline along the coast of Arabian Sea in Defence Phase 8. Currently, four international projects are under construction in this area, on their way to establish the first creek enclave in Pakistan.

It may be recalled that the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi, announced its plan to develop Phase 8 in 1987 but it was only in 1994 that DHA began allotting plots to army officers and announced permission for construction in its first three belts.

All residential and commercial plots in DHA Phase 8 today are owned by the private sector and permission for construction has only been granted for a portion of the phase.

As a result of the Pakistan property boom that began in 2001, big names of the international real estate industry also sat up and took notice of the Karachi coastline. ‘Crescent Bay’ by Emaar Pakistan, ‘Creek Vista’ and ‘Creek Marina’ by Meinhardt Singapore Pte Ltd and ‘Creek Side’ by Abu Dhabi based Injaz Mena Investment Company PSC, joined with UK-based Global Haly Investment Ltd, are all multi billion dollar projects expected to be completed within the next three years.

Sysmax, a Malaysian firm, developed the DHA Golf Club in Phase VIII and is currently working on the soon-to-be-built Raffles International Club. According to further details, construction of new roads, new sewerage lines, water supply lines, water reservoirs and KESC lines is under way and will be completed within the three-year timeframe. The contractor for this project is the National Logistics Cell (NLC) and the cost of construction for the roads is estimated to be around Rs2.07 billion.

An industry analyst informed The News that the UAE based DAMAC developers were also in line to start a project. However, conflict with the government and the DHA led to their backing out of the deal. One important question that arises is with what price tags are these projects expected to bring for their properties. An official of one of the projects informed that their prices ranged between Rs15 and 25 million. He hesitated to reveal more since his company’s polices do not allow the project to be discussed as yet.

A real estate agent, who specialises in DHA and Clifton properties, shared that all four projects were competing with each other and therefore, any information regarding their work was considered sensitive.

He said that one particular project was in fact being bad-mouthed by estate agents, since developers had refused to involve these agents in the project. “On an average, all these apartments are roughly priced between Rs10 million to Rs25 million depending on the developer, the locality, the tower, etc. This is without adding the taxes and other additional charges,” the source added.

General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Creek Marina, Shabbir Siraj, said that due to inflation and the increasing prices of cement, steel and other construction materials, they were compelled to add the rising cost of production to the bills of their potential new clients.

He informed that the new prices would be 15-20 per cent higher than their earlier quoted ones, before quickly adding that property prices did increase with time and it was therefore, keeping the local market price in mind, that the new evaluation was being done.

“Clients who had booked apartments that were sold earlier during our first launch will remain on the earlier contract and pay their remaining instalments as was agreed in the initial project,” he clarified.

A sales executive of another project who preferred to remain anonymous (also due to company policies) said that most of the buyers of these projects were overseas Pakistanis. “If 60 per cent of all these projects have been sold collectively, then about 40 per cent are owned by those Pakistanis who have dual nationalities or have well-established businesses abroad and consider these complexes to be a part of their future investments.”

He further reasoned that high level projects are introduced after thorough research is carried out regarding the market and its consumers. “Obviously we do have buyers, that’s why we can see these projects coming up. No business likes to play blindly and get established first and then wait for customers.”

Source: The News, 23/8/2008

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