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DUBAI-Touted as the first direct investment of its kind in the United Arab Emirates by a US hotel developer, Dallas-based JMJ Hospitality has revealed plans for an upscale hotel and condominium complex to open here in 2009. The Rosewood Dubai International Financial Centre will have 193 keys, 156 of them deluxe rooms, as well as 36 suites and a Royal Suite. The 55 condominiums will also be branded and managed by Rosewood.

“We believe in the future of Dubai, which is one of the world’s premier destinations,” says JMJ president Christopher Knable. “We look forward to this exciting landmark development and…are actively seeking to do more [in the UAE] now that we have taken this important first step.” The project is being developed on a site owned by the Buildings by Daman.

The JMJ project comes at a time of explosive development in the UAE, with hotel construction expected to increase significantly. According to a report issued recently by Lodging Econometrics, there are 304 hotel projects delivering rooms in 12 Middle Eastern countries through the end of the decade. Of those, 101 projects accounting for nearly 42,000 rooms–or 47% of the total units in the Middle East pipeline–are being constructed in Dubai. That puts the emirate only second to Las Vegas in the number of rooms being produced in a given market, according to LE, which says the UAE region as a whole is focused on luxury product. NH-based LE says 87% of the 101,000 Middle East rooms planned are in establishments rated four stars or above, including a number of six- and seven-star rated facilities anticipated for Dubai.

Praising JMJ for possessing “a wealth of ultra-luxury experience,” Shehab Gargash of Daman Capital Real Estate Partners says the company should fit in well with the Dubai lodging landscape. “The Rosewood brand is an international symbol of quality and luxury in the hospitality industry,” says Gargash, adding, “we see this as not only an important step for JMJ, but a strong signal for heightened investment interest in the region.” Luxury elements of the Rosewood hotel will be upscale restaurants, a gala ballroom, state-of-the-art business center and a rooftop spa and fitness center. The 55 condominiums will be available for sale later this year.

JMJ Hospitality is a division of JMJ Holdings, a Dallas-based developer active in hotels, mixed-use and residential projects using an intensive hands-on process that allows for pursuit of complex undertakings. Rosewood Hotels are already located internationally in such markets as Tokyo, the Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and Mexico.

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