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Nakheel to sell hospitality plots on Deira island

palm deiraNakheel plans to release 94 hotel and resort plots for sale on Deira Islands in Dubai as part of a drive into hospitality and retail, The National reported.

The developer plans to sell plots on two of the four islands that make up the project that could eventually accommodate 23,000 new hotel rooms. As many as 500 sites would eventually be sold by the developer.

Nakheel sees the islands as filling a gap in the market for beachfront three- and four-star hotels in the emirate, which is at the centre of a regional hotel building boom.

It is also planning to build an unspecified vast mall project for the developer, in addition to two shopping centres at Jumeirah Village announced that were on Tuesday.

The Deira Islands sale represents a change of focus for the company, which emerged as one of the biggest casualties of the 2008 property downturn and ensuing Dubai World debt crisis.

“Our strategy is to build more cash-generating assets,” said Ali Rashid Lootah, the Nakheel chairman. “We will be building more leasing property.”

Developers including Emaar Properties and Nakheel are increasingly eyeing Dubai’s thriving retail sector in an effort to diversify their income streams.

All four of the revamped Deira islands are expected to include resorts, apartments and retail. Nakheel intends to build five hotels of its own on the Deira Islands and the developer could operate as many as ten hotels by the end of the decade.

The development would add 40 kilometres to Dubai’s coastline, more than half of that in the form of beachfront.

The addition of scores of hotels on the opposite end of the city from the Dubai Expo site has surprised some analysts.

Dubai plans to double its hotel room inventory in the run-up to the 2020 Expo, with many of the new properties clustered near the project site in Jebel Ali.

The large-scale development of beachfront hotels at the other end of the city is being seen as a potential catalyst for a wider regeneration of old Dubai.

“Deira really deserves some attention,” said Mr Lootah.

The Palm Deira was originally designed to be the largest of the developer’s three palm-shaped islands, but work ground to a halt partway through its reclamation, even before the onset of the 2008 downturn.

The Deira Islands project would have formed part of the original Palm Deira close to the Deira shoreline.

The revamped and much smaller development will include a major shopping mall, a night market and a marina.

“Much of the land between Deira and Sharjah is one-dimensional dormitory style development and not really a cohesive urban community,” said John Podaras, a partner at Hotel Development Resources. “You might argue that developing a vibrant tourism community could create a separate self-contained centre.”

The Deira Islands plots go on sale on Sunday and range between 50,000 sq ft and 670,000 sq ft.

“I think we will have a very good response,” said Mr Lootah.-The National