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Dar Global & Aston Martin come together to build a luxurious waterfront branded residence in Ras Al Khaimah

In an exclusive interview, Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global, discusses their collaboration with the renowned British carmaker Aston Martin for the project ‘The Astera, Interiors by Aston Martin’ in Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah and the rise of branded residences

Dar Global & Aston Martin come together to build a waterfront branded residence in Ras Al Khaimah

Upon arrival at The Arts Club in DIFC, Dubai, one is enveloped in an aura of exclusivity and lavish opulence. The establishment boasts a rich and sophisticated colour palette, along with bold textures and vibrant patterns that command attention. And it was only fitting, as we were gathered there to celebrate the momentous collaboration between Dar Global and Aston Martin.

With a gross development value of approximately $245 million (AED 900 million), ‘The Astera, Interiors by Aston Martin’, in Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah marks the inaugural venture of Aston Martin’s revered design team into real estate development in the Middle East region.

So, how will the upcoming waterfront property emerge as a landmark in the region and further elevate the brand’s commitment to crafting exquisite living experiences for its discerning clientele? Ziad El Chaar, CEO, Dar Global, provided us with exclusive insights into it.

Branded residences are flooding the real estate market and the sector is only expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the upcoming years. What do you attribute this growth trajectory to?

Limited edition items like watches, bags, and jewellery did not generate much excitement 15 to 20 years ago, but with the rise of social media and influencers, they have become highly sought after. Displaying these items on social media or showing them off to friends now boosts one’s ego and garners attention. Henceforth, the concept of limited edition permeated all aspects of our lives, eventually making its way into the realm of real estate.

The question therefore arose: how does one develop limited-edition real estate? Many attempted to answer this question through collaborations with renowned architects, but these efforts ultimately fell short. As a result, limited edition real estate transitioned into branded real estate, where the exclusivity of a property is guaranteed by its association with a prestigious name.

Take for instance our project, where 258 luxurious residences will be developed in collaboration with Aston Martin. Just as Aston Martin’s limited edition cars are renowned for their rarity and prestige, these residences will exude a similar aura of exclusivity. In a society where individuals seek individuality, branded real estate provides an opportunity to distinguish oneself and embody a lifestyle of unparalleled sophistication. Therefore, the appeal of branded residences will undoubtedly continue to flourish.

What inspired the partnership between Dar Global and Aston Martin for this project?

We consistently collaborate with esteemed brands rooted in the world of interiors to ensure that our designs exude a sense of exclusivity and truly resonate with our discerning clientele. We believe in working with brands who are committed to infusing their DNA into the project, rather than simply providing a logo. This approach ensures that our projects have lasting value and resonate with our investors and buyers, and Astera will also embody the essence of British creativity, blending personalised design, advanced materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and exceptional functionality.

Why did you choose Ras Al Khaimah as the location for this project?

We wanted to develop a waterfront property, but the availability of land near beaches worldwide is scarce. However, despite the limited supply, there is a high demand for waterfront homes as many individuals enjoy waking up to the view of the sea. Therefore, we found Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah to be the ideal location.

The government of Ras Al Khaimah also provided significant support to us, as they were aware that once we start advertising this project, we will push it in over 60 cities globally through our extensive network of 3,000 brokers. Hence, this collaboration will not only raise awareness about Ras Al Khaimah as a destination but also boost sales for our project. Additionally, many hospitality and infrastructure projects are also in the works to cater to the booming tourist demand, and the $3.9 billion Wynn Resort is one of the marque developments, which will not only elevate the island’s reputation, but also significantly benefit our project due to its proximity to the resort.

What does the timeline of the project look like?

The project will be completed by December 2028 and will offer expansive one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as three-bedroom villas. Currently, our team is working on the enabling package. Following this, the piling package will be prepared for rollout. Once the piling process is completed, the main contract will be handed over, with groundbreaking set to take place in September.

Will this partnership continue with new projects on the horizon or is it a one-off commitment?

Our work will be determined by market demand. Should interest in branded residences wane, we will not work on such projects anymore. Besides, we try not to collaborate with the same brand in the same location after completing a project, at least not until several years have passed as it is important to preserve that ‘limited edition’ project. Therefore, we may consider taking a brand to a new destination, but repetition in the same location is avoided.

Could you provide an overview of the current project pipeline at Dar Global?

Over the past three years, we have built a project portfolio worth $6 billion. By the end of 2023, we successfully sold approximately $1 billion of this portfolio.

Moving forward, we are actively seeking new opportunities to attract international buyers. Our focus areas include Greece, Morocco, Miami, and New York in the US, and we are also expanding into Saudi Arabia soon. Specifically, we will be targeting Riyadh and Jeddah, as they are set to host two major events, Expo 2030 and FIFA 2034 World Cup.

Why a buyer should invest in a branded real estate project, and is the market on the whole headed in the right direction?

When considering the purchase of a property, it is essential to take into account the supply and demand dynamics. It is advisable to choose a product with a limited supply, as it is more likely to yield positive returns in the long run. Also, as a real estate developer, I would love to see the market not only growing but also slowing down because we are reaching a stage where affordability is becoming a problem.

Affordability is a key factor in investment decisions, as it determines whether a property is worth purchasing. So, it is not just a matter of having the funds to make a purchase, but also ensuring that the investment yields substantial returns. After all, people will not purchase a property that only provides a one per cent return.