There are no second thoughts in saying that the construction sector in the UAE is booming. The sector is expected to see a solid recovery in the next five years, with construction industry value growing between 3.7-4.7 per cent, according to experts. This growth will be driven by the country’s development agenda, which is focused on growing the country’s industrial, transportation, and energy infrastructure. As part of the ‘Projects of the 50’ initiative, the UAE government announced plans to implement a series of projects aimed at accelerating the UAE’s economic development to transform the country into a comprehensive hub for all sectors, aiming to attract $149.8 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the next nine years.
In particular, the UAE’s real estate market witnessed a surge of prices in the first quarter of 2022, attributed to the UAE government’s ease of Covid-19 restrictions on travel, tourism and other economic activities, the positive impact of the Expo 2020 Dubai on the real estate and tourism sectors, and the return of international travel to normal levels. Prices in some sectors of Dubai’s property market have increased as much as 56 per cent over the last year, fueling interest in new construction. Dubai’s largest property developers have launched new construction projects within the last few months, all of which reportedly sold out immediately. March, April and May 2022 saw the highest levels of real estate transactions for those months in over a decade.
One such property developer that has been making strides in the market is Heilbronn, founded by the visionary Dileep Kumar. With Kumar, a civil engineer by profession and a self-made designer, at the helm, Heilbronn is counted among the best with unrivalled experience in sectors such as construction and property development and is a pioneer in buildings, roads and infrastructure, contracting, and free hold property developments, among others.
Can you tell us about the inception of the company?
We established Heilbronn on February 2, 2002 to provide high-quality construction projects to our reputed clientele. As the years went by, our reputation saw a manifold increase with an overwhelming response. At Heilbronn, we always strive to deliver from our heart, the highest quality work within the stipulated time and budget. For us, our client is the king.
This led us to us acquiring many prestigious projects from highly reputed firms such as Emirates Airlines, Dnata Sky Cargo, Emirates Aviation Academy, and many VVIP clientele. One of our flagship projects is Rugby Sevens. Today, Heilbronn is a leading Dubai-based construction and property development company, catering to world renowned clientele, developing premium and luxury freehold properties in the UAE.
The UAE real estate is making some serious strides in becoming the top destination for investors and buyers. What boom do you see in the coming months? What optimism does this give you?
The UAE real estate market has seen some serious growth over the years and continues to be a hotbed for investors and buyers, not just from within the nation, but also from outside. Propelled by higher energy prices, Dubai’s property market has recovered strongly from the pandemic’s downturn with buyers snapping up luxury units after the emirate eased restrictions faster than most cities around the world.
However, we have been developing and constructing high-end projects for 20 years regardless of the market situation. I would say that real estate is a long-term investment, if you maintain it properly. This encourages our excitement about the Dubai luxury real estate segment as we have successfully completed many projects in Emirates Hills, Jumeirah Golf Estate and Palm Jumeirah in the past 15 years.
Based on our past and present experiences, we anticipate the current demand for high-end properties to rise higher or at least stay the same due to the influx of high net worth individuals (HNWI) from other countries who have chosen Dubai as their base. I don’t see any slowing down in this area for another couple of years. Even a mid-level home seeker has realised the importance to invest in a home because in 10-12 years’ time, your rent expenses turn into your asset.
Sustainability is at the core of construction today. Can you brief us on what Heilbronn is doing at this front?
Sustainability can play a pivotal role in creating a better future. Over the years, the UAE has consistently revisited its sustainable development goals, such as the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy, Green Economy for Sustainable Development in line with the UAE Vision 2021, Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, and the UAE Energy Plan for 2050. All these are drivers for the public and private sector, as well as the community, to embrace green practices.
We are very keen to provide sustainable construction to minimise the overall environmental impact. We start our sustainability inputs right from the design stage to construction – not just in residential, but also commercial with elements/details in mind. Solar panels, thermal-resistant windows, heat-insulated blockworks for walls, roof insulation, sensor controlled-passage light to save electricity as well as greenery are regular features in our developments.
What are the various sectors/project portfolio that Heilbronn caters to, including the clientele?
As a multi-specialist in the construction industry, Heilbronn specialises in high-end luxury golf and beach villas to cater to the HNWIs in high-end areas namely Emirates Hills, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach and Pearl Jumeirah. With a positive shift towards affordable luxury projects due to a strong demand from the middle-income clientele, our forte also includes luxury apartments and town houses. This segment is very vital to what we do.
Can you talk about your current and future projects?
Talking about our current and future projects at Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC), we have already started with a luxury apartment project, wherein four buildings will be a part of this that are already under construction. This is going to be one of the most luxurious contemporary apartments in JVC facing the park. Our civil and MEP construction teams will ensure that we complete the project on time while maintaining the quality. The new project will surely standout due to its contemporary design and greenery. We always focus on maximising in-house resources, and I believe that is one of our greatest strengths. We have also planned ultra-luxury villas in two prime locations, mainly where the billionaires are residing. The details of it will be out soon.
Our specialty lies in buildings, so whether the market is up or down, it averages out for us and we don’t have to worry about the market. And we never overdo things. That is our philosophy. We just focus on the customer and market requirements.
What is your specialty when it comes to services?
For Heilbronn, our client is king! No project is handed over unless we have completed the building with quality works and in adherence to international requirements. We sell what we show. All the apartments have a model house so that the potential client can witness and feel what they are getting into before making any payment. This ensures transparency and goodwill. We undertake projects that we can deliver with utmost sincerity and quality. Our commitment to respect deadlines and budgets is the single most important factor that has kept Heilbronn far ahead of its competitors. And our long list of repeat clientele is testimony to the trust and faith we enjoy in the market. Another advantage we provide is that we are a self-financed company and, going forward, we plan to provide good payment terms including post-handover payment to encourage the middle-income buyers.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why so?
Construction is not an easy job. In fact, every project is a challenge. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Jumeirah Golf Estates and Emirates Hills projects were delayed and we were also working on deadlines for completion from our master developers. However, to make up for lost time, we accelerated the works as soon as the pandemic situation improved. Another challenging project was a villa for a VVIP client in Dubai. A 50,000 square feet mansion to be completed in 10 months. With a 24/7 schedule and design and supervision support from the client, we managed to complete it on time.
Can you talk about yourself and your personal interests that make you a successful figure?
Being a civil engineer by profession and a self-made designer gives my construction and property developments activities a great advantage. I am very passionate about the design and execution of my projects. It’s in my blood to be a developer. Money has never been a motive. The work satisfaction and my clients come first to me. However, my passion lies in sports. I believe I am more of a sportsperson rather a businessman. To keep a balancing act among family, friends, hobbies and my profession is what drives me on a daily basis. Every day, I enjoy my works in creating new luxury properties with the same passion I have for golf and driving my sports cars.
What is your outlook for 2022-2023?
Reinvigorated by strong demand and upbeat sentiment, particularly for real estate in Dubai, the market is booming. Real estate in Dubai commands huge demand and 2022 has been a gamechanging year. Dubai has been my home for 31 years and I always been very optimistic about this city. If you invest within your limits, chose the right location, and have the patience to wait, you will not be disappointed. With my three decades in construction and real estate experience, I’ve not seen a better place than Dubai — for buyers and investors. As I have said before, anywhere in this world real estate is the best and safest investment as long as you make the full payment for your property and have the patience to wait.