Dubai-Based Damac Properties Revealed as Champlain’s $120M Bidder

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The developer bidding $120 million for the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., is a Dubai-based firm, court documents reveal.

Damac Properties is behind East Oceanside Development LLC, the firm listed in a court motion filed on Friday to approve the sale contract, said a source with intimate knowledge of the proposal. 

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Back in August, a developer who remained anonymous until now, emerged as the first interested buyer for the oceanfront, 1.88-acre parcel, proposing $120 million as a stalking horse bid. 

The sale of the parcel would go towards compensating the victims of the tragedy that killed 98 people, and surviving family members.

Founded by Hussain Sajwani, the luxury Emirati developer has constructed more than 35,000 homes since its inception in 2002 and has another 30,000 in the works, according to the firm. With a real estate portfolio spanning the Middle East, the potential Champlain acquisition would appear to mark Damac’s first foray into the United States.

The Emirati firm has agreed to fork over $16 million as an initial deposit, of which $150,000 is nonrefundable, according to the court motion. The firm will have 60 days to inspect 1.88-acre Champlain property. 

The site of the Champlain catastrophe is set to be sold this spring. Earlier this week, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman, who is presiding over the sale, approved a timeline that would allow the final auction to commence as early as late February. 

The sale comes amid fierce opposition among some victims and surviving family members. The land under which the Champlain condo sat is a “burial site for us,” Carlos Wainberg, who lost family members in the collapse, said in a court hearing last month. “To see a high-end development built would be very hard for all of us.”

A group petitioned for land swap, whereby the town of Surfside would forfeit its nearby community center to the winning bidder, allowing the Champlain site to become a memorial. But after Surfside town commissioners rejected the plan this month, Judge Hanzman made it clear that the sale would go ahead, saying the property “will be sold — because it has to be sold.”

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com.