How Merchant is crafting a real estate legacy in Dubai
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Karim Merchant: Crafting a lasting legacy in Dubai’s property market

Karim Merchant: Crafting a lasting legacy in Dubai’s property market

Pure Gold Group’s managing director and CEO shares how he’s leveraging the group’s 35 years of history to shape a legacy in Dubai’s booming real estate market

Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
How Pure Gold is crafting Dubai’s real estate legacy

Exactly a year ago, Pure Gold Living delivered its first project to customers in Dubai.

The property developer delivered its first project, the Dhs100m PG Upper House, ahead of schedule in June 2023, setting a new standard of dependability, commitment and excellence. These values have marked over 30 years of success for the company’s parent firm – Pure Gold Jewellers.

“Our focus was and will continue to be solely on delivering on our promises,” says Karim Merchant, managing director and CEO of Pure Gold Group.

As a scion of one of the biggest family-owned businesses in Dubai, Merchant is all about looking at the long-term vision rather than using gimmicks to make a mark. “Our goal was to differentiate ourselves right from the beginning.”

“Our buildings have character and soul – they are more than just concrete, sand, and steel. It may take time for our target customers to recognise and appreciate this, but we are in it for the long run, so there is no rush,” he emphasises.

Merchant acknowledges that several property developers have set up shop in Dubai, eager to ride the wave of the city’s thriving real estate sector. Building massive developments where unit owners become just members is not in Pure Gold Living’s long-term plans; instead, the company seeks to construct boutique developments that give residents a sense of belonging.

“Whether we build a small apartment building with five residential units or a boutique vertical tower with 300 units, our commitment is to transparency, timely delivery, and fulfilling our promises,” he says.

Dubai’s property market shattered a decade-long record for home sales in the first quarter of the year, with rental rates soaring to unprecedented levels. The latest data from Property Finder shows that the emirate’s residential market has sustained an upward trajectory, marked by a 53 per cent year-on-year increase in transaction volume and a 38 per cent growth in transaction value to 17,713 and Dhs46.5bn, respectively.

The impressive comeback from a seven-year slump is emboldening developers to capitalise on the robust demand, driving them to launch new projects and expand existing ones. Pure Gold Living, one of the fastest-growing developers in Dubai, has benefitted from these developments.

Dubai’s real estate market presents a wealth of enticing investment opportunities, catering to diverse preferences. From residential properties to commercial spaces to hospitality, the diverse and dynamic market offers a variety of investment opportunities, catering to a wide range of choices and objectives.

A promising future

Merchant is confident that Dubai’s real estate market has a promising future. Following the delivery of PG Upper House, Pure Gold Living plans to launch three more projects in the next six months.

PG Upper House comprises one-bedroom and one-bedroom plus study apartment options built to modern standards. “PG Upper House is probably the residential property with the highest per square feet price in the secondary market at the moment, indicating strong demand and customer satisfaction,” says a proud Merchant.

He notes that the development is a testament to Pure Gold Living’s strategy as “tenants and owners living there are seeing the value of the property”.

Sustaining the momentum, Merchant emphasises that Pure Gold Living’s two new residential projects in Al Furjan and Meydan further advance the company’s strategy of creating a user-centric community that delivers on its promises.

“PG One Al Furjan, the first plot in this exciting community, hence the name, is currently under construction and is scheduled to be handed over before the end of next year,” he shares, adding that the project was sold out in less than four weeks.

How Pure Gold is crafting Dubai’s real estate legacy

The residential tower will feature studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom duplex apartments, each with its own pool. The building itself is also set to house the largest infinity pool in that part of Dubai, along with several other unique amenities that the developer plans to unveil in the future.

Merchant says Pure Gold Living’s pipeline includes PG Meydan, the developer’s most ambitious project that is set to be the pinnacle of affordable, PG Maison, the developer’s upcoming real estate development that is set to be one of the tallest residences in Al Furjan, and PG Avenue, a commercial complex that is in close proximity to Mirdif City Centre and the Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Pure Gold Living is scheduled to deliver PG Maison by December 2026. Nestled in Dubai’s prestigious commuter hub, the development offers seamless access to the city’s bustling commercial hubs, pristine beaches, and upscale retail and dining districts.

PG Maison embodies a lifestyle of luxury, comfort, and active living within a vibrant community. It is conveniently situated 20 minutes from Al Maktoum International Airport and 30 minutes from DXB.

Sustaining a legacy

With a commitment to customised spaces, transparency, and integrity, Pure Gold Living is fundamentally transforming Dubai’s property market, making it attractive to home seekers and investors.

“Transparency and integrity are fundamental to our business ethos, originating from our roots in jewellery trading. For 35 years, our jewellery business, dealing in diamonds and gold, has thrived on trust,” Merchant emphasises, adding that customers rely on Pure Gold Jewellers to provide high-quality jewellery without physically inspecting the authenticity of rings, earrings, watches or necklaces.

Pure Gold Group is applying the same principles to its real estate business. Merchant says the property developer prioritises transparency in all its dealings and is committed to delivering “only the best to its customers”.

Going forward, Pure Gold Living sees significant opportunities to customise and personalise living spaces. “When home seekers and investors buy property, they are often limited to predefined layouts offered by developers,” Merchant says, adding that this lack of flexibility is frustrating for customers who want to design homes to suit their unique needs and preferences.

How Pure Gold is crafting Dubai’s real estate legacy

However, he notes that the company’s approach is different. “We sell space and involve the customer early in the process, asking them how they would like to customise it. Our goal is to accommodate customers’ preferences as much as possible, ensuring that the property truly feels like their own.”

Merchant says that by advancing personalisation, “we believe we can drive the next growth phase in our real estate business.”

With the advancement in innovative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, Merchant says artificial intelligence creates immersive, interactive tours that allow home seekers and investors to conduct virtual tours and customise units before signing the contract.

“Customers now desire a more immersive virtual experience, allowing them to visualise their future homes with all the details, including furniture, finishes, and even curtain colours. This digital experience is becoming a strong emerging trend,” he adds.

Dubai’s property market continues to evolve, driven by shifting consumer preferences and changing lifestyle trends. Real estate investors want to actively design their apartments from the outset rather than furnish them at the end.

Merchant says sustainability and green spaces continue to be vital considerations in Dubai’s real estate market, as does the overall wellness aspect of living environments. “The integration of digital experiences, early customer involvement in design, and a balanced focus on sustainability and wellness are pivotal in shaping the future of real estate development,” he stresses.

Robust strategy

Merchant has been with Pure Gold Group for 24 years. His father, Firoz Merchant, founded the business in 1989 in the bustling Murshid Bazaar in Dubai’s Deira area. The company was initially focused on gold trading, later expanding into retail and now venturing into real estate.

He believes the group’s jewellery and real estate businesses are grounded in history. “Jewellery has been cherished for centuries, and real estate has been a cornerstone of human life for just as long. While they may evolve over time, I believe they will continue to be integral parts of our lives for the next hundreds of years.”

Merchant’s confidence is not misplaced. Dubai, along with other emirates that make up the UAE, has excelled in maintaining a thriving real estate sector, thanks to its security, connectivity, and robust infrastructure. The city’s real estate sector continues to buck global trends and has witnessed a surge in demand for property over the years, supported by an influx of people from around the world.

“Real estate, much like jewellery, holds intrinsic value. It is a hedge against inflation, as we have seen time and again,” says Merchant.

He stresses that private property developers in the UAE have a responsibility to contribute to the government’s overarching vision of driving sustainable economic growth. “We aim to be part of that vision, even in a small way, to help leave a legacy aligned with the leaders of this country by making home seekers and investors feel secure when making the most important decision of their lifetime.”

How Pure Gold is crafting Dubai’s real estate legacy

Merchant, who has a profound passion for building, whether designing jewellery or property development, says Pure Gold Living is a significant contributor to the group’s overall financial success, and “the vertical’s importance is only expected to grow going forward”.

“From the beginning, I have strived to understand how I can differentiate myself by recognising my strengths and weaknesses,” Merchant shares while noting that identifying and addressing his weaknesses has been instrumental in his development as a leader and the group’s agility.

Looking ahead, Merchant expects Dubai to evolve into a city with multiple centres rather than having a single central area.

“Given the development in areas such as Al Furjan, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Village Circle, Business Bay and Dubai Maritime City, the concept of a single central location in Dubai is becoming irrelevant,” he says in closing, adding that infrastructure development in the emirate will support this multi-centre growth.

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