Among the owners of real estate units in The Pearl, a luxury residential man-made island under construction in Doha, the capital of Qatar, there are Brazilians. The Pearl should receive investments of US$ 13.9 billion until construction is concluded, in 2011.
The information was given by Mira El-Baphe, public relations at the United Development Company, owner of the project. The company will not provide however details about the Brazilian buyers, informing only that four Brazilians from the southeastern state of São Paulo bought property in the island.
The island is the first location in Qatar in which foreigners are allowed to fully own a home. The remaining options for non-natives to live in the Arab country are either to rent a house or apartment, or to lease one for a 99-year period. After that period, the real estate needs to be returned to the government.
The Pearl, which is under construction and should occupy an area of 4 million square meters (43 million square feet), was visited Thursday, November 22, by the Brazilian construction sector mission that went to Doha. The first portion of the island, named Port Arabia, is already sold-out, and will start being inhabited in mid-2008.
Port Arabia will have apartment buildings and houses, as well as a marina with capacity for 400 boats, and premises for services such as cafés and restaurants. The total area will be one million square meters (11 million square feet). The whole project extends over 32 kilometers (20 miles) of coastline.
The island will also feature, on one of its extremities, nine small islands that are going to be private properties. Each of these costs US$ 25 million, and all of them have already been sold, according to Mira. They are the project's most expensive sites. The multi-million dollar islands, however, do not include houses, and construction is up to the owner.
The lowest-priced real estate units in The Pearl are studios, currently valued at US$ 400,000. The units' prices, according to Mira, have recorded high increases since sales began. The first studios, according to her, sold for US$ 200,000. That is, nowadays they are worth twice as much.
Most of the house and apartment owners are from the Gulf itself, especially Qatar. There are also many North Americans. The presence of foreigners on the island, according to the public relations, is good for Qatar, as it ends up promoting the Arab country.
Of the second portion of the island that will become operational, 70% has already been sold, according to Mira. However, the other areas have not even been offered for sale yet. Half the buyers are investors, according to her. The other half is comprised of people who intend to live at the location.
The project is not entirely implemented by the United Development Company. Some of the investors have bought shares and take charge of construction themselves, though following the specifications for the island's plant.
Brazilian businessmen who visited the site in which a miniature model of the project is on display, and from where part of the works can be seen, became interested in supplying construction material for The Pearl.
They were instructed to contact the real estate developer, which in turn should forward them to the departments in charge. Both the United Development Company and the investors that are building part of the work buy construction material.
The island will have a total of 40,000 inhabitants when construction is finished. The company that owns the project is one of the largest private companies in Qatar. It was established in 1999 and operates not only in the real estate sector, but also in other areas, such as infrastructure, energy, and investment.
The Brazilian delegation that visited The Pearl was in Qatar from November 20 to November 22. The mission is promoted by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).