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RICS 150

2 MAY 2018

Elaine Jones FRICS: The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Elaine Jones FRICS, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Asteco is one of Dubai’s most influential surveyors.

Having founded Asteco in 1985, she has worked on several projects including Emirates Tower, World Trade Centre Apartments, Wafi City and most notably The Palm Jumeirah.

Elaine was involved in the iconic project in its early days, working with Arthur Anderson on the research and feasibility studies and later handling the initial booking and transactions of the first plots of land.

Elaine moved to Dubai in 1980 when property was exclusively owned by GCC Nationals and built for the expatriate workforce to rent.  In 1985, Elaine founded Asteco, a leasing and property management company that was involved in some of the country’s most innovative developments.

In the mid-1990’s His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid told Sultan Bin Sulayem that Dubai needed to create land to allow for more water front properties. Having worked closely together in the early days of Asteco, Sultan Bin Sulayem asked Elaine to work alongside concept architect Warren Pickering and the team of selected consultants on the pre-proposal research and feasibility studies for The Palm Jumeirah.

Given there were no benchmark figures to base this research on, Elaine and the team compared data from Saudi and Qatar where luxury waterfront projects had been undertaken. The ambitious plans to create the iconic man-made island came with many risks and it was made clear that approval of the project would be conditional on complete financial and physical feasibility. The research Elaine helped conduct played an important part in ensuring final approval.

When The Palm Jumeirah subsequently launched, and the opportunity was made available to virtually all nationalities, an Asteco team were assigned to work with Jebel Ali Properties, which later became Nakheel, to handle the initial booking and transactions for the first plots that were released. The demand for the plots was so high that customers were limited to buying only four plots each and the option to halve the plots to help meet demand was made.

As a host to many new restaurants and leisure destinations, including the 5-star Atlantis Hotel, the completion of the Palm Jumeirah has been of significant importance to Dubai’s tourism. In 2016 the number of tourists had more than doubled since 2005; Dubai now enjoys over 15.8 million international travellers a year.

Elaine’s firm Asteco is the largest private multi-disciplinary real estate services company in the Emirates. In 2015 the franchise business was launched which further extends Asteco’s presence throughout the region with substantial plans for the Saudi operation and other GCC countries. In recognition of her career in the Middle East Elaine was named Middle East Businesswoman of the Year 2007.

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