ENBD REIT appoints Savills and Bluehaus Group to upgrade largest asset

ENBD REIT the Shari’a compliant real estate investment trust managed by Emirates NBD Asset Management, has announced a major refurbishment programme for its largest asset by value, Al Thuraya Tower 1 in Dubai Media City. Construction of the building was completed in June 2005, and it has been a cornerstone of the REIT’s office portfolio since acquisition in November 2006. Valued at AED 283 million, the tower accounts for 20% of ENBD REIT’s total portfolio value (as at 30th June 2020).

Al Thuraya Tower 1 consists of two basement levels, ground floor retail units, five floors of parking and 24 floors of leasable office space, at a total Net Leasable Area (“NLA”) of 208,565 sq. ft. The refurbishment project is a strategic measure to enhance the building’s leasability and boost occupancy. Savills has been appointed as the project manager and cost consultant for the programme, while Bluehaus Group has been appointed to oversee design and MEP works. The project follows ongoing efforts by management to add value to the portfolio by attracting long-term tenants to the REIT’s assets, improving Weighted Average Unexpired Lease Terms (“WAULT”), while engaging with current tenants in genuine financial distress through a Covid-19 rent relief programme.

Khaled Al Faheem, Board and Investment Committee Member of ENBD REIT, commented:

Having delivered on a number of our short-term priorities for the year, we are turning our attention to bolstering occupancy and encouraging longer-term lease agreements at one of our flagship assets, Al Thuraya Tower 1. After various initiatives to navigate market headwinds, including a rent relief scheme and a hedging agreement to lower our cost of debt, this refurbishment represents a strategic investment to improve the attractiveness of the asset as a home for businesses. Our intention is to foster long-term relationships with tenants across the portfolio, and we believe that these upgrades are necessary to delivering on our commitment to a first-class experience for occupants. In Savills and Bluehaus Group, we have two highly-respected partners with whom we look forward to completing this project.”

The areas identified for refurbishment have been selected based on various criteria, including aesthetic improvement, and material upgrades to building infrastructure to align it to the standards of newer, nearby buildings. Upgrades will be made to the foyer and entrance of the building, as well as to lighting and tiling in corridors throughout the tower. Common bathrooms will benefit from improved layout and styling, along with provision for people of determination. Extensive upgrades will be made to fire escape stairs, chillers and lifts as well as car park refurbishments which will include new signage, re-surfacing, lighting and painting. A further objective is to incorporate measures to ensure the building operates as a safe, “virus-free” environment for occupants, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simon Denham, Head of Building & Projects Consultancy Middle East at Savills, commented:

“ENBD REIT are among the first of our clients in Dubai to seize the opportunity to enhance and improve their asset, and take advantage of the seismic shift in occupier requirements in the wake of the global pandemic. This is an exciting opportunity to upgrade a building that has huge potential, and incorporate some forward-thinking sanitation and Covid-compliance concepts, as well as major plant and infrastructure upgrades, ensuring the future of the building for the next 15 to 20 years. The Savills project management team will complete the turnaround of the building within a 12 month timeframe, while the Savills cost management division are committed to generating maximum impact from the client budget.”

James Coburn BA, MBA, Managing Director & Partner at Bluehaus Group, commented:

“It is a pleasure to be partnering with the ENBD REIT and Savills teams to elevate Al Thuraya Tower 1 to create a memorable, efficient experience at the building. Bluehaus Group has been renowned for its Corporate Workplace Consulting over the past 19 years of operations; however, through a diversification and key talent attraction strategy, we are proud to be able to redevelop assets into unique, safe, “virus-free” destinations for end users’ satisfaction. Bluehaus Group’s Engineering and Interior Design disciplines will work closely with the ENBD REIT and Savills teams to create a first mover asset transformation of Al Thuraya Tower 1, for the benefit of all.”