The businesswoman Baroness Michelle Mone and her partner Doug Barrowman, chairman of the Knox group of companies, are launching a £250m development comprising two luxury apartment towers and a shopping mall, in Dubai.
The Glasgow couple are making the initial 150 apartments available for the crypto-currency community to buy directly, in bitcoin.
“Doug and I are both trailblazers in our own business sectors,” said Mone, “so of course we wanted this to be different, unique and exciting – not just in the world of property, but also tech. This is why it is the first-ever development to be priced in Bitcoin. This is a launch of many ‘firsts’ in business and I look forward to an exciting project ahead for myself, Doug and the team.”
The founder of the Ultimo lingerie range and Conservative peer, who recently launched an interiors business, said the development in Dubai was a natural progression “bringing together my two passions in business for the first time; design and property”.
The Aston Plaza & Residences development will offer “exceptional homes to professionals and young families,” said Mone, who was awarded the OBE in 2010 for her outstanding contribution to business. “The towers have been designed with community at its core and cater to the those looking for style, lifestyle and convenience, in a beautiful location.”
Barrowman added: “This is a project I have worked very hard on for some time and the Dubai development is the pinnacle of design, architecture and commerciality.
“That said, I didn’t feel this was enough. I wanted to offer the property, tech and blockchain community a unique and exclusive opportunity by merging the property and tech sectors together in a true first for the industry.
“Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in a few short years means it’s now the world’s leading crypto-currency. This is exactly why we are the first property development ever to be priced in Bitcoin. I believe, as it gains mainstream adoption, many will follow our lead on this. I would, as I have done throughout my career in business, like to be the one who starts the trend, a very exciting one at that.”
The development of 1,133 studio, one and two-bedroom apartments, is due for completion in September 2019. Apartments offer floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of the Dubai Hills and the iconic city skyline.
Architects John R Harris & Partners have used “bold architecture contrasted with relaxing, open and sociable communal areas designed by Michelle Mone Interiors”. The development also features the Plaza; three floors dedicated to retail which will include boutiques, cafes, restaurants and a supermarket.
Studio apartments will start in price from around $133,000 (approximately 30 BTC, depending on the exchange rate), with one-bedroom apartments at around $239,000 (approx 54 BTC) and two-bedroom around $379,000 (approx 86BTC). Packages for interior design services and furniture will also be offered to purchase in bitcoin.
Payment platform BitPay will be processing the transactions. The company already provides bitcoin payment tools to companies such as Microsoft and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. “Bitcoin payments offer a significant leap forward for high-value international payments,” said Stephen Pair, BitPay co-founder and chief executive.
“These property purchases can now happen in minutes from anywhere in the world with the speed of sending an email. We are pleased to partner with Lady Michelle Mone OBE, Doug Barrowman, and the Knox Group of companies on this exciting opportunity for Bitcoin and for property payments.”