Christie’s International Real Estate today officially launched in Dubai, coinciding with the auction house’s October art and watch offerings.
The new unit is expected to facilitate the sale of penthouse apartments, villas and potentially some off-plan property, with the sale of a 75 million euro Arabic palace also in the works, according to Joachim Wrang-Widén, SVP and regional director for Europe, Middle East, Russia, India and Africa Christie’s International Real Estate.
Brian Etemad, a former MD at Hamptons International Real Estate and legal council at Emaar Properties has been selected to lead the Dubai operation, which is a newly established affiliate.
Wrang-Widén said Etemad was selected particularly for his connections in the Dubai market, experience as an Attorney at Law and high profile local contacts book.
The unit will handle property transactions in the $3 million to $5 million and above bracket, with the exact figure to be decided by Etemad. Christie’s will not be taking an equity stake, instead providing it with a global marketing and PR platform and a network of brokerage firms for referrals.
“He [Etemad] will with his team decide how he wants to position his company, what he wants to sell, he doesn’t have to seek our approval, he runs the show here,” said Wrang-Widén, although adding there would be more interaction if a bespoke international marketing plan was needed for a property.
Christie’s International Real Estate was first approached regarding opening a Dubai affiliate in 2004, but decided to wait, looking again at the market in 2012 when the fundamentals had improved.
It’s October launch coincides with the 10th anniversary of Christie’s operations in Dubai, and the firm’s latest auction of art and watches expected to fetch a total of $6 million to $8 million and $1.8 to $2.8 million respectively.
Wrang-Widén said the new affiliate was in Dubai for the long term and expressed confidence in the emirate’s real estate market, which has previously gone through boom and bust cycles.
“I would not want to have an affiliation in the market if I had any concerns about the market’s long term sustainability and solidity,” he said.
Having revealed the possibility that Christie’s International Real Estate could open more offices in the GCC in August, he also revealed that the local affiliate had the right to open additional offices in the UAE if it felt the need, but did not disclose any further Gulf plans.
The Dubai affiliate’s office is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to open in a few weeks, on the 7th floor of Emaar Business Square.