Property firm owned by Irishman manages $100m in Dubai assets

Firm owned by former Bus Éireann chairman hopes to manage 500 properties by 2020

 

A Dubai-based property management firm led by Irish businessman Paul Mallee has achieved a milestone of $100 million (€85 million) worth of assets under management and hopes to manage 500 properties by 2020.

Maison Prive, founded by Mr Mallee and his business partner, Rami Shamma, in 2016, plans to have 100 apartments under management by the end of this year.

Mr Mallee, a former strategy consultant, worked on a number of infrastructure projects in Ireland before taking a senior executive role with Etihad airways. During that time he was appointed as chairman of Bus Éireann for a three-year term. He decided not to renew his tenure as chairman in 2014 and instead pursue his own business interests.

The former chairman of Bus Éireann told The Irish Times that his company can achieve a far higher net revenue for Dubai property owners by letting their apartments out on a short-term basis than they would if they were let on a long-term basis.

Asked how the company is different from other property management firms, Mr Mallee said that it provides a hospitality service unlike other operators in the space. “It’s very much like staying in a hotel,” he said.

A change in the regulatory structure surrounding short-term letting in Dubai facilitated the opening of this business. Under Dubai law people seeking to rent a property must have a visa so, under Maison Prive’s model, families and corporate clients who plan medium-term stays in Dubai can now have access to apartment rental rather than staying in a hotel.

“There are two core types of customer we’re going after. For example, the customer who comes and would have to book more than one hotel room to fit their family...It’s about giving that type of guest the space they need and, for them, the price point is very attractive,” Mr Mallee said.

Concierge services

A key focus for the company is to ensure that guests have access to concierge services like they would in a hotel. With that aim in mind, the firm is selective with the properties it takes under management.

While the company currently uses platforms such as Booking. com and Airbnb to market properties, it hopes to eventually list property on its own website. That, Mr Mallee said, will allow the company to scale better.

“The internationalisation of it is fairly straightforward. We’ve had a significant degree of investor interest in Saudi who can see that there’s value and logic in this,” he said.

The firm is positive about its future prospects considering Dubai itself hopes to entice more tourists, aiming for 20 million visitors a year by 2020.

Prices for properties managed by the firm start from $100 for a studio apartment up to $700 a night for a three-bed apartment.