Hussain Sanjawi grew up with a father who was in business for himself and who made young Hussain work long hours after school in his father’s shop. The Damac owner swore that he would never be in business, but would be satisfied to go to university and get a degree to become a professional and work regular hours.
So Hussain attended the University of Washington in the United States, far away from the UAE and received a degree in engineering. After graduation, he went back to Abu Dhabi to go into the oil and gas business. Two years later, in spite of his childhood promise to himself, he started a catering company which wound up being the primary caterer during the Gulf Wars to the US Army in the Middle East. The catering operation is still in existence under the name of Global Logistics Services.
In 2002 Sajwani started DAMAC Properties as he saw the need for accommodations for people coming into his country for business and for professional people. His first project, an apartment building catering to the higher income types, was sold out before the construction was even begun. Sajwani always devotes his cash to the major portion of the investments he makes with only a small portion financed.
Sajwani’s outrageous advertising tactics were the reason for the immediate success, and he became known for his raucous and engaging ads such as, “A Bently Free For Every Apartment Purchased.” His business has developed close to 19,000 apartments since the beginning of the company and has over 44,000 units under various stages of construction.
Sajwani operates under very strict principles such as the purchase of the land by paying cash. Once you own the land, no one can kick you out. Then the construction itself has separate accounting and bank accounts for each property so that each one stands on it own. This is very smart business tactics because if one property has financial trouble, it doesn’t affect the rest of the business. Currently the rest of the Hussain Sajwani family is also involved in his far-reaching enterprises.
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Recently some of the projects featured a Donald Trump golf course designed by Tiger Woods. There are currently two such courses on a couple of his more elegant properties.