Dubai Developer Questioned on $600 Million Indonesian Resort Development

Dubai Developer Questioned on $600 Million Indonesian Resort Development

Vacation News » Vacation & Leisure Real Estate Edition | By Kevin Brass | August 5, 2010 10:21 AM ET

Dubai-based Emaar Properties is denying reports that it is pulling out of a plan to develop a $600 million resort and residential project on the Indonesian island of Lombok.

In March 2008 Emaar signed a joint venture deal with the Bali Tourism Development Corporation to build the project, one of the first ventures into Indonesia by a Middle East developer. Emaar announced plans for a 1,200 hectare development, including a marina and golf course on the island, which is about 25 miles from Bali.

But the plan has stalled, while Emaar battles the collapse of its home market. And the company has been forced to repeatedly counter reports that it is pulling out of the deal.

Most recently, last weekend an Indonesia government official said the project would be retendered. Investors from Abu Dhabi, Qatar, India and the United Arab Emirates [Ras Al-Khaimah] have already expressed interest, the Jakarta Post reported.

But Emaar says it has "responded on time and with total commitment to the proposals of [joint developer] the Bali Tourism Development Corporation for the project."

Although the developer didn't offer any details on plans for the project, Emaar says it has also provided "recommendations on how it intends to proceed with the development of the project."

With Dubai faltering, government-run Emaar recently reiterated plans to "focus on its core competency... by building premium real estate master-developments in key geographic markets."

Emaar is the developer behind Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, as well as the Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills and other signature Dubai projects. In 2008, 90 percent of Emaar's revenue came from the Dubai property business.

In 2009, however, more than 25 percent of the business was generating by the leasing and hospitality arm of the company, with international supplying 8 percent, according to its most recent financial report.

But its international focus has largely remained on the Middle East. The company is working on master-planned projects in Turkey and Pakistan, with developments in India, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Syria scheduled for completion in the next 12 months.

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