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Damac accused over selling flats on UN site in Dubai

A UK lawyer has accused Dubai property group Damac of selling off-plan units on a plot which it knew was occupied by the United Nations (UN).

The UN has a considerable presence in Business Bay – and occupies the site where Damac plans to build two residential projects: La Residence and La Residence 2 at the Lotus.

Damac

The projects were launched in late 2006 and early 2007.

Retired lawyer Jeff Kershaw, who lived in Dubai for 11 years but is now based in the UK, is preparing legal action against the private developer over the dispute.

His UK-based client, who is one third of the way into the payment plan – having paid installments worth AED420,000 on the property worth AED1.39m – is demanding a refund, which the developer is so far refusing.

“I want to know whether Damac recklessly forged ahead to sell off-plan units on a site which they knew they couldn’t build on,” Kershaw told Arabian Business.

“My client paid his money in 2007 in good faith but in his case Damac claim they are unable to start building as the United Nations have a tenancy agreement over the land or part of it,” he added.

“They did not in our meeting offer this information immediately and only yielded it under pressure.”

Damac on Thursday was at a loss to explain when the plot would be handed over by the master developer Dubai Properties and when construction would start at Lotus.

In a statement a Damac spokesman said: “Damac Properties is unable to commence works at this time at the Lotus plot. This is due to the relocation of the existing occupant at the site. Until such time as a plot is handed over to Damac, construction cannot commence.

“When timeframes are discussed with customers, all indicated timelines are from the date the plot is handed to Damac for commencement of construction. This project will be completed within 36 months from handover of land,” the spokesman added.

Damac owns the land at the Lotus development site.

La Residence is a planned 58-storey tower, while La Residence 2 will be 64 stories high. In February 2007, Damac said 83 percent of La Residence had been sold.

Damac Properties is part of conglomerate Damac Holdings.

The UN has a number of agencies based in Business Bay such as UNOPS (the United Nations Offers for Projects Services). UNOPS is a member of the International Humanitarian City (IHC), a Dubai free zone.

A spokesman for IHC was unavailable for comment.

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