Senior executives at Nakheel have stayed mute on the ongoing battle with residents on its luxury Shoreline development, marking a shift in the company’s aggressive campaign to charge for access to the project’s beach clubs.
Both the chairman of the developer and the CEO of its leisure arm – the firm poised to privatise the Palm Jumeirah project’s beach clubs – refused to be drawn on the spat during press events.
“I don’t want to talk about other projects or issues,” said chairman Ali Rashid Lootah, at a press event to launch Nakheel’s first real estate project on the Palm since it was bailed out by the Dubai government in 2009. “People on the Shoreline, all we are asking is to pay your service charges… that is all,” he added, when pushed by Arabian Business.
Saeed Harib, CEO of Nakheel Marine and Leisure, said: “I won’t talk about Shoreline,” when questioned at the launch of the company’s Palm-based cruise business on Monday.
Nakheel in December distributed leaflets to the Palm Jumeirah residents warning it planned to charge residents up to AED5,000 ($1,360) to access the beach, pools and gyms.
In the interim, the developer has banned residents with outstanding service fees from using the beach, pools and gyms by rolling out a temporary security card system.
Last month, Nakheel said the lockout would be extended to Shoreline’s main buildings and car parks from Jan 15 - effectively barring residents from accessing their homes - but homeowners said the deadline had passed without incident.
The company has said the lockout is in response to the high number of homeowners defaulting on service charges. Homeowners on Shoreline have AED57m outstanding in service fees, down from AED72m at the start of Dec, Nakheel said on Jan 3.
Lootah said Nov 23 that Nakheel’s push to take over the beach clubs was “legal”, a claim contested by the CEO of Dubai’s real estate watchdog in December. The state-owned developer this month paved the way for a climbdown on its plans, saying it would “respect whatever decision” was made by RERA.
Nakheel last August pledged to slash service fees at its real estate developments in Dubai by nearly a third, vowing that owners in its properties would pay the lowest fees in the city.
“We are shooting for a 30 percent reduction in services charges compared to 2010… We want to have the lowest service charges in Dubai,” Lootah said.