Dubai: Safety mechanisms put in place for Riverwalk buyers
Escrow accounts, for real estate purchases, will be used for each element of the signature Riverwalk development, a 38-acre, mixed-use development in Dubai Internet City. The accounts, which add an additional layer of purchaser protection, have been introduced by Capital Partners FZ LLC, the company behind the project.
The escrow process, currently one of the foundations of real estate transactions in the United States, is relatively unpractised in Arabia, not least as the freehold real estate sector is in its infancy in the emirate. The principles are to ensure deposits from the buyer are held by an independent third-party, and no funds are handed over to the developer until all contract deliverables are complete.
W. Jonathan Wride, managing director of Capital Partners, explained: “For the buyer, the knowledge that their deposits are in the hands of an independent financial body adds safety mechanisms to the transaction – and results in increased peace of mind.
“The monitored escrow deposit accounts add an additional degree of transparency for all real estate transactions at Riverwalk. The real estate market in Dubai has now matured to the extent that it needs – and deserves – measures like this to ensure continued consumer confidence.”
Within the mechanism of an escrow account, when property is purchased, the deeds from the seller and the deposit from the buyer remain with the escrow agent until all elements of the deal are complete.
Wride explained: “As developers of the project, it is critical that we are transparent and accountable to our investors, as well as being seen as a trusted company by the wider consumer market. Escrow accounts are just one of a series of standards and mechanisms we will put in place to deliver on our promise to buyers.
”The risk is taken out for the consumer and their funds are only used to complete construction of the property they have bought. Guarantees like these will help with the development of the real estate sector in Dubai, as the initial real estate boom of the last two years makes way for more measured – and more sustainable – growth.”
Capital Partners is the American private equity firm that is currently responsible for the largest Western investment in Dubai through the $1billion RiverWalk real-estate development, which is situated within Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM). The firm is the first group to sell freehold residential and commercial property in the free zone.
RiverWalk is a mixed use development in the heart of “new” Dubai. The project will be a car-free environment and will include more than 5 million square feet of residential apartments, offices, boutique shops, galleries, cafes, a 300-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel and 120 Marriott serviced apartments.
Phase One of the total development is currently underway and consists of 1.5 million square feet of residential and commercial space with freehold sales activity commencing before the end of the year.
In brief: the RiverWalk project
Plans call for RiverWalk to have waterways flowing through the development, with a central island of restaurants, galleries, studios and boutique shops as a key attraction. The Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott serviced apartments will be a key element of the project, in addition to the tower to be constructed along Sheikh Zayed Road, the city’s main arterial road.
The entire RiverWalk project will consist of three phases of development. DAR Consult is the designer and architect, and Al Habtoor has done all the enablement work to date.
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