Firstly, how did you manage to get both Michael Schumacher and Niki Lauda to put their names to your development?
The most difficult thing was getting the first one, Niki Lauda. Then it was much easier to get the second, Boris Becker and third, Michael Schumacher. It all kind of happened by chance. We got involved in a Speaker’s Series last year and Niki Lauda’s son, Matthias Lauda, was driving for us. So a relationship started to build with Niki Lauda. Of course, all these sports stars know each other, and soon others were interested, like Schumacher.
How will the buildings differ? Did you have to promise they would all be the same size to prevent rivalry?
No, not really. The only thing they have in common is that they are all commercial.
What are the differences between the property market here and in Germany?
You won’t find buildings like the ones here anywhere else in the world. It’s quite an outstanding market. It’s the only one which is stable right now, if you compare it to the UK, US or to Spain, for example. We’re actually noticing a lot of price decreases there. At the same time, Dubai is an outstanding location because of the environment. Tax-free, the special free zones, and we’ll soon have a great infrastructure – something which is admittedly behind right now. But to build a city in a couple of years is not easy. It’s a big challenge.
Will you develop any other types of property here?
At the moment, we are thinking about another development with Boris Becker. We might incorporate a Tennis Academy, because of the one he has in Qatar, which is quite popular. Right now we are studying whether it makes sense or not. We may incorporate a hotel there, so people can visit the resort and join the Tennis Academy at the same time.
Are you planning to build any more here, in partnership with any other superstars? Who would be your dream property partner?
It would be very difficult to top the sports personalities and legends we have already worked with. If we’ve created three successful buildings, I’m not saying we could not do it a fourth time, but we may have to change our strategy a little bit. Maybe not even have a celebrity partner. That’s why we have started to create residential properties at Dubai Waterfront: people who stay have access to yachts as well, which I guess is still unique, but in a different way.