News June 5, 2019

AED 15 billion escrow account agreement signed for "Emirates Riviera" development

The Abu Dhabi City Municipality signed an escrow account agreement for the AlJurf project to develop the Emirates Coast (Emirates Riviera) at a cost of AED 15 billion.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Saif Badr Al Qubaisi, Director General of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Issa Omair Al Mansouri, Head of the Land and Real Estate Sector Team at Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Walid Al Hindi, CEO of real estate company IMKAN, and Mohammed Al Ali, General Manager and Head of Cash Management at First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The Emirates Riviera project is located in Ghantoot between Abu Dhabi and Dubai cities and spans a total area of approximately 4 million square metres.

Walid El-Hindi, CEO of IMKAN, stated that the first phase of AlJurf Gardens is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021, while implementation will begin during Q2 of the following year. This phase will consist of 293 villas and land plots set in a unique green environment that includes farms and private coastal chalets reminiscent of the French Riviera or The Hamptons in New York. This phase will cost about AED 2.5 billion and cover an area of one million square metres.

He pointed out that the second phase is called Jiwar Alqasr (the vicinity of the palace) and will begin in mid-2020 with completion due in 2023. It will cost more than AED 5 billion, and consist of a heritage village, museum, and retail outlets. The third phase, Marsa AlJurf, will commence development in 2023 and end in 2026 at a cost of more than AED 5 billion.

International Standards

Abu Dhabi City Municipality’s Saif Al Qubaisi emphasized that the implementation of the Real Estate Market Regulation Law No. 3 of 2015 is an embodiment of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities’ keenness to regulate the real estate sector in accordance with the highest international standards. At the same time it provides a trusted umbrella to protect the interests of investors and all relevant parties, thereby benefiting and positively affecting the entire real estate sector. This will help to attract investments and promote economic development and sustainable growth in Abu Dhabi, because the application of this real estate law and regulations would have set a healthy precedent.

Trust and credibility

Since the implementation of the Real Estate Law, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City has noticed many positive indicators, added Saif. Most notably more trust and credibility that define the relationship between all parties of the real estate development process, and improved marketing and promotion of these properties because all parties are protected by the rules and regulations. This law’s application has also contributed to preserving the rights of investors.

He pointed out that the real estate sector is regulated in accordance with Law No. (3) of 2015, which entered into force on 1 January 2016, as the law includes 7 executive regulations that enhance the principles of governance and transparency, and protect the rights of all concerned parties, addressing the joint ownership of real estate and the owner’s association, the initial real estate registry, the approval of fees, as well as the registration of real estate residents, insurance mortgages, the project’s escrow account, and an executive regulation regarding licensing. He emphasized that proceeding with the implementation of the real estate law contributes to reaching a new and sustainable stage of growth and prosperity in the land and real estate sector, and benefits the local economy, the business community, as well as members of society.

He also noted that the executive regulation regarding the project’s escrow account aims to protect the rights of investors from individuals and institutions who buy their properties off-plan, and wish to pay for these units in installments during the construction process. A project escrow account is therefore established, allowing investors to deposit their installments for their housing units to developers, so that these funds are not exploited in other projects or purposes. This whole process falls under the supervision and control of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, where the escrow account is managed through the account custodian bank authorized by the department to provide escrow account services. In order to achieve this, account trustees’ agreements will be signed in accordance with the law and the executive regulations. Simultaneously, an escrow account agreement will be prepared as a form between the account trustee and the developer regarding each project. As for the existing projects that are completed by at least 70%, they will be exempted from providing the escrow account.

Jassim Al Seddiqi, a member of the Board of Directors of IMKAN and CEO of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group, said: “IMKAN will instill a completely new lifestyle. This destination will integrate innovative design methods and standards on the coast of the Emirates by mixing traditional inspiration with strong modern elements and picturesque landscapes.”

Three distinct areas

Upon completion, the destination will consist of three distinct areas: AlJurf Gardens, Jiwar Alqasr and Marsa AlJurf, each with its own specific architectural characteristics and set of facilities and amenities.

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