"BRETT SIEGEL IS ONE OF THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE IN MIDDLE EAST REAL ESTATE. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING UAE MEGA PROJECTS." Khizer Schon Husain, VP, Schon Properties, Dubai

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures Join Forces On AED 2.3 Billion Royal Estates Mega Project

Following the recent joint venture agreement that was penned down between Aristocrat Star, PAL Developments and Pacific Ventures, the partners revealed the project name and details while announcing the pre-launch phase.

Royal Estates in Dubai Investments Park is what the 2.3 billion master planned development is named. The beautifully landscaped community grounds will house 2000 units in all, comprising apartments, villas, boutique retail spaces, an office complex and a luxury hotel.

The Royal Estates will go on sale beginning the first week of August with apartment units starting at AED 450,000 and townhouses from AED 1.6 million on up.

Atiq Merchant, Director, PAL Developments LLC, said: "The Royal Estates community provides a sanctuary of purposefully designed spaces complimented by inspired aesthetics that celebrate the innovation and modernization that are synonymous to Dubai today." He added, "It presents an outstanding opportunity, providing a range of choices for investors and home owners in a locale where demand is expected to rise ahead of the Dubai 2020 Expo. Given our team's collective inclination to create an ideal community that rejoices family living, Royal Estates promises to be a perfect backdrop for all those precious memories waiting to be created."

“A step above the rest is what we have strived to create with Royal Estates by ensuring every aspect of the development is nothing less than the best. We are excited about the venture and commit our best to all investors from quality to delivery”, said Osman Valli, Chairman, Aristocrat Star Real Estate Development.

“The Royal Estates development is the fruition of a common vision shared between the team, a vision to create accessible investment opportunities within high quality real estate in Dubai. The project reflects Tony Ashai’s contemporary and chic design sensibilities while being housed in the midst of lush green landscaping. And considering the attractive introductory price points we have finalized, Royal Estates has all that it takes to become every family’s dream home”, said, Parvez Khan, Chairman, Pacific Ventures.

The project sales will commence on August 7th, 2014 and Phase 1 of the project comprised of 400 units shall be delivered during the first quarter of 2016.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Al Thuriah Launches Two New Towers In The Sahara Complex

Al Thuriah, a leading service provider to the real estate and construction industry, recently announced two big milestones – firstly, the Sahara 3 Tower will be completed ahead of schedule and ready for occupancy by residents before the end of 2014; secondly, the company has announced the construction of two more high-rise residential towers Sahara 4 and Sahara 5.

The new towers will be located in the Sahara Complex, which is an ideal location at the border between Sharjah and Dubai. Considered the gateway to Sharjah, the towers will be easily accessible and will have three hospitals, more than 10 schools and the Sahara Mall in the vicinity. The towers are strategically placed to offer proximity to major landmarks like Dubai International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, American University of Sharjah, etc.

The Sahara Complex is a very peaceful and quiet area, and the towers will have an amazing view of the golden sunsets at Mamzar beach and the green foliage of Mamzar park. The building material and fittings that will be used for these two towers will be best-in-class and from leading construction materials manufacturers and suppliers.

Sahara 4 will have 6 floors of reserved parking space and 27 residential floors while Sahara 5 will have 5 floors of parking space and 15 floors of residential space. The spacious flats serve as a perfect haven for family moments enjoyed amidst well-appointed luxury in a lavish setting, complemented by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow for brilliant rays of natural sunlight to stream in and brighten the days.

The apartments will be well-equipped with 24-hour security and complete facilities management. Both the towers will also offer in-building relaxation and recreational options like a swimming pool with lifeguards, and a supervised gym and health club.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Raymond Khouzami, CEO, Al Thuriah, said, "With Sahara Complex, we have created a winning formula. A complete package that combines the ingredients of practicality, class and serenity with a guaranteed build quality and timely commitment. This is the success story of the Sahara Towers."

The apartments in both Sahara Tower 4 and Sahara Tower 5 are available for Freehold Ownership as per Sharjah Government Rules and Regulations to GCC nationals and Arabs with a UAE Resident Visa.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Schon's Dubai Lagoon Set To Go!

Schon Properties, a leading Dubai property developer, has successfully secured an investment of AED 339 million for the completion of the Dubai Lagoon project. The investment agreement was signed with Xanadu Real Estate Development LLC, a local real estate development company at the Lands Department on Monday, June 2nd. Simultaneously an agreement between the developer and PGS Gulf Contracting Company was signed. This agreement awarded a construction contract worth AED 678 million to the contracting company for the Dubai Lagoon project.

Mr. Danial H. Schon, Vice President of Schon Properties, commented, “This is a turning point for Dubai Lagoon project and we are pleased to tie-up with Xanadu Real Estate Development to complete construction of the project. The funds are being utilized for the completion of Dubai Lagoon project, which also includes the Juma Masjid located within the residential project. Schon-Xanadu have instructed PGS Gulf Contracting to enhance the finishing of the project by including the highest quality items. Given its location and quality construction, Dubai Lagoon is poised to be one of the best master development communities in Dubai.”

Speaking on behalf of Xanadu Real Estate Development, Mr. Adel A AlBreiki, Managing Director, said, “Xanadu is one of the few developers to have consistently delivered projects through the downturn of the real estate market. The prospects of the location are excellent, with the EXPO site in close proximity, and huge appreciation can be expected in coming years. We are excited to partner with Schon Properties to deliver this project.”

Speaking on behalf of PGS Gulf Contracting, Mr. Cenc Yabas stated, “Having a team of over 2,000 personnel on our site, we are more than equipped for this job. Deliveries are expected to commence starting from March 2016 until December 2016. Mobilization works have commenced onsite. Furthermore, construction prices have been covered through the contract with the developer. We are set to go. “

Present during the signing at the Land Department were the Deputy CEO of Rera, Mr. Yousef Al Hashimi, Mr. Emad Farouq the senior legal advisor of the Dubai Land Department and Mr. Abdulrahman Al Yasi from the Trust Accounts Department. Representing Schon Properties was Mr. Danial H. Schon and Mr. Firas Hassan. Adel Albreiki, Managing Partner of Xanadu Real Estate Development and Mr. Cenc Yabas, Managing Partner of PGS Gulf Contracting signed the construction contract.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dubai's Top 5 Mega Projects

With a combined value of close to $240bn, Dubai’s biggest real estate projects will massively redefine the emirate’s landscape in the next decade.

MEED Projects, which tracks various construction projects across the region, has compiled the latest data on ongoing property developments in Dubai and has listed the top five projects that will have a massive impact on the city’s socio-economic landscape in the coming years.

The biggest in terms of value is Meraas Holdings’ Jumeirah Gardens project, estimated at $89.5bn and is due for completion in 2021, followed by Dubai Holding’s Dubai Land development, valued at $61bn with a completion date set in 2020.

The ongoing $16.7bn Dubai World Central development that will be completed in 2030 came in next, followed by Limitless’ Downtown Jebel Ali project, estimated at $14.6bn set for completion in 2020.

Rounding up the top five is the Al Jadaf Area Development Culture Village (Arabian Bays) project by Dubai Holding which has a budget of $11.6bn to be completed by 2017.

MEED released the data ahead of the forthcoming Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference, scheduled on June 9-10, 2014 at the Grosvenor House, an event that aims to provide clarity on the viability of Dubai as a long-term, sustainable real estate investment opportunity.

Endorsed by the Dubai Land Department, MEED’s Dubai Real Estate 2020 conference will address the development and sustainable evolution of Dubai’s real estate market – the world’s fastest growing real estate market, according to Forbes magazine – with fresh insights from leading local and international property experts.

“Dubai is shaping up as an intelligently master planned Mega City, with a booming economy. We now hear of aerotropolis community concepts – cities built around airports – which will most likely emerge in Dubai as it gears up in a big way to develop the Al Maktoum International Airport as a centerpiece development in time for the World Expo 2020 event,” said Julio Armando De Quesada, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking Group, Mashreq

With residential property prices returning to an upward direction in recent months, and a fresh new wave of projects over the next 8 years in the lead up to World Expo 2020, real estate analysts generally see Dubai’s property sector booming in a big way.

Among the highly touted projects include the ongoing Business Bay project, currently valued at $11.2bn, which is expected to be fully completed in two years’ time; as well as the Muhammed Bin Rashid City, which is being developed jointly by Dubai Holding, Emaar, and Meydan Sobha at a cost of $11bn for completion in 2023.

Emaar’s Downtown Dubai development project, with a budget of $10.9bn, is expected to be fully realized in 2020, the time when Meydan also hopes to complete the full development of its Meydan City project at a cost of $7.3bn. Add to this the Dubai Government’s Expo 2020 build-up, which will cost $7bn and will be in place by 2019.

“As the market revives there is an imperative need for more accurate, real-time and definitive information on Dubai’s real estate sector to manage the risk of overheating of the sector,” said Edmund O’ Sullivan, Chairman, MEED Events, organizers of Dubai Real Estate 2020.

The event will create a platform for Dubai’s regulators and leading real estate institutional investors, government and private developers, lenders, advisers, consultants and property professionals to discuss issues and identify solutions for the emirate to move towards a more mature real estate market. Highlights of the conference include critical discussions by the Central Bank of the UAE, Dubai Land Department and RERA on fiscal regulations, reducing the dependency of developers on investors and limiting speculative buying, as well as Dubai Municipality presentation outlining the future real estate development plans, land release programs and the overall master plan for the city.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will present a detailed analyst’s view on the impact of Expo 2020 for the UAE’s real estate sector, providing fresh insights on where the opportunities lie as Dubai gears up to host its biggest event yet. Conference delegates will also be able to receive hands-on tactical investment insight from key institutional investors such as real estate funds, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, investment banks, private equity, and others with collective assets under management (AuM) of over US$10bn.

Ian Albert, Regional Director, Colliers International Middle East, said: “The UAE property market is currently experiencing an exciting phase in its development with a number of significant projects scheduled to break ground and many already underway. These projects will drive growth in the property market and the wider UAE economy including the hospitality and retail sectors. Winning World Expo 2020 added further stimulus to a buoyant economy underpinned by a rising population, booming tourism industry and significant environmental, cultural and infrastructure projects.”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Abu Dhabi Announces More Projects!

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) announced that 13 development projects covering over four million sqm were approved during the first quarter of the year, with 70% of this area being residential.

Five of these approved projects were Master Plans, with the remaining eight being detailed Project Plans. A Master Plan is defined as separated multiple buildings, with a road network and community facilities, which must meet certain requirements and standards based on the size of the development. A detailed Project Plan is defined as a single building with no road network, but can include multiple buildings connected by a podium, and requires no community facilities.

One of the biggest project approvals was for Aldar Properties’ Al Raha Beach East Master Plan. Al Raha Beach is a mixed-use development being constructed adjacent to the E10 Highway on Abu Dhabi Mainland, close to Yas Island. The development consists of reclaimed land along the coast with a series of canals and islands interlinked by boulevards creating a unique waterfront community stretching over 20 kilometers.

Al Raha Beach East is the first phase of the overall Al Raha Beach development and will provide over 3,000 apartments, townhouses and villas as well as 50,000 sqm of prime Grade A office space.

Another large Master Plan project approval was for further development of the Petroleum Institute on the Abu Dhabi Mainland, which will continue its focus on educating Emiratis in areas of resource exploration and field development, gas and petrochemical production and processing, and other engineering and geosciences applications. The new enhancements to the campus will include a new male undergraduate center, a new research center and research park, and a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program and residential blocks. The Petroleum Institute project will be developed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Master Plans for UAE National residential projects were approved for Aldar Properties’ Al Shabahat development in Al Ain (for sale to UAE Nationals), and the Bida Al Mutawa development (which will be developed by Musanada as part of the UAE National Housing Program) in Al Gharbia, which collectively will offer over 240 villas, as well as community centers, parks and mosques, to UAE Nationals.

Also approved was the Al Hai Al Tejari project in Al Gharbia, which was announced at the Al Gharbia Development Forum in Abu Dhabi. The project is a mixed-use development at the center of Ghayathi City, located on the main road that connects the major settlements of the Western Region.  It will include a town center, office and retail space, residential apartments and a cinema, and will vastly improve the lifestyle of the existing community in that area.

The remaining eight approvals were for detailed Project Plans, which included Farglory’s EW11 development on Al Maryah Island and Aldar Properties’ Shams Abu Dhabi development on Al Reem Island, both residential projects.

In the education sector, a Project Plan for the new Institute of Applied Technology campus in Al Ain was approved, which will comprise a vocational high school and university for up to 2,400 female Emirati students, and will have a 2 Pearl Rating under the Estidama sustainability program.

A detailed Project Plan for an extension to Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, which will add an additional 135,000 sqm to the existing 34,500 sqm of the current campus, to serve a total of 3,000 students and 762 faculty and staff when completed, was also approved. The new campus will include Abu Dhabi’s first Medical School, an integrated Engineering College and Research & Development facilities, and will also provide students with world-class facilities such as an auditorium, students center and sports center. The University also intends to enlarge their current Discovery Center to 1,800 sqm to encourage public involvement in science and technology, with the ultimate goal of establishing Abu Dhabi as a knowledge-driven city.

Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Development Review & Estidama, UPC, said: “These approved projects bring us closer to achieving the goals of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. The Development Review team is very careful and deliberate in its evaluation of all project proposals; each one must adhere to our regulations and guidelines for planning Complete Sustainable Communities and take into account environmental, societal, cultural and economic factors, thereby ensuring that every new development is in line with the overall vision for the Emirate.”

Since 2007, the UPC’s Development Review Team has delivered 432 projects and master plans covering an area of 50 million sqm. In addition to the above, these developments include Zayed University (Zayed City), Al Maryah Island, the Guggenheim (Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi World Trade Center and Yas Waterworld, among many others.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kingdom Tower Completed By 2018!

The Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, which will be the world’s tallest tower at 1,008 meters, will be completed in December 2018, said Mounib Hammoud, CEO of Jeddah Economic Company, speaking at MEED’s Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) in Dubai.

The contractors working on the SR6bn ($1.6bn) project expect to complete the raft foundation of the tower, which is the largest of its kind in the world, in August this year. “It is the largest concrete raft in the world. In places, the thickness is five meters,” says Hammoud. “Everything in the tower is the biggest or tallest.”

The first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City will be 1.4 million square meters and will include the tower, a mall, a large mosque for 12,000 worshipers, and residential and commercial buildings. France’s BNP Paribas is the financial adviser for the deal and the local Alinma Bank is also assisting with the loan that will bridge the funding gap while the developer waits for revenues from land sales at Jeddah Kingdom City.

The contractor chosen for Kingdom Tower is the local Saudi Binladin Group. In February 2013, a joint venture of the UK-based EC Harris/Mace was awarded for the project management contract to oversee the development of the tower.

The client developing Kingdom Tower and the surrounding Kingdom City is Jeddah Economic Company, which said it is looking to raise about $1bn to help fund the estimated SR13bn ($3.5bn) first phase of Jeddah Kingdom City, together with the SR8.7bn that the shareholders of Jeddah Economic Company have provided to capitalize the company.

Land sales and off-plan property sales are expected to accelerate as construction work on the SR6bn Kingdom Tower’s superstructure starts. “We are not in a hurry to sell land as the value is increasing as the tower construction moves ahead,” said Hammoud.

++ Kingdom Tower is currently one of my favorite Mega Projects and is destined to become a World Icon. This tower will dwarf even the mighty Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Mega Projects being developed in Saudi Arabia, including Kingdom Tower, King Abdullah Economic City, King Abdullah Financial District and many others, are truly spectacular!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mega Projects Could Cost More Than Expected

With more than $2.5 trillion worth of projects in prospect in the years to 2030, the GCC is set to enjoy one of the greatest construction booms the world has ever seen.

But there are risks as well as rich prizes for those bidding for major projects in the region, says Anthony Holmes, director of the UK’s Institute for Infrastructure Studies and an internationally recognized authority on the economic impact of Mega Projects.

“The chances of there being problems with the region’s Mega Project program are enormous,” Holmes says. “Elsewhere in the world, these projects tend to go 40-80 percent over budget. International experience has also shown that big projects don’t get delivered on time.”

“What’s happening in the Middle East region to suggest the outcome will be different?” says Holmes. “There is nothing. It is all being done in the same way. This could mean that the project program in Qatar alone is going to cost at least $80bn more than budgeted.”

MEED(Middle East Economics Digest) estimates that at least 150 projects each worth a minimum of $1bn are due to be completed in the GCC by 2030. Their combined value is estimated at close to $900bn, more than one-third of the value of all projects under way at present or planned in the region.

Details of some of these Mega Projects will be comprehensively discussed at the forthcoming Arabian World Construction Summit(AWCS) on May 12-14, 2014 in the Sofitel Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. During the conference, local and international experts will also discuss project opportunities and challenges throughout the Arab world, with rising costs as one of the most important factors that could impact on completion and delivery of Mega Projects.

“What is clear is that there’s an enormous concentration of planned project activity in the region,” Holmes says. “You have to think about the material needed to execute all that work. There doesn’t seem to be sufficient work done on quantifying the needs in the years to 2030.”

The rise in costs may be something that Qatar can absorb, but competition for building material, equipment and talent will have an impact on poorer nations in the region.

“If you look at places like Turkey and Egypt, you see that they won’t be able to do the things they want,” says Holmes. “Resources are going to be diverted to Qatar and other GCC markets.”

“GCC countries also don’t have to go to the international capital market,” says Holmes. “But others in the region like Egypt, Oman and Turkey will have to. So even if GCC countries can afford the additional costs, there will be regional implications.”

Holmes, an economist and former investment banker, will moderate the infrastructure Mega Project development Masterclass during the Arabian World Construction Summit. He will also participate in the conference as an expert panelist.

At the AWCS, Holmes will highlight the risks facing all those involved with delivering Mega Projects. But his focus will be identifying actionable solutions.

“What can be done is better co-ordination, particularly in information,” he says. “You can’t make decisions about material resources unless you have information. We need someone to establish a non-partisan body and capture data about future trends in the regional projects market. And there needs to be a regional investment bank that looks only at infrastructure projects.”

Adding to Holmes’ comment on the importance of capturing hard data about future trends, Alistair Kirk, industry expert and Middle East Head of Infrastructure at EC Harris says, “Key pieces of infrastructure stimulate wider economic growth and generate agglomeration benefits – from supporting urbanization and industrial growth to providing stronger trade links. With the major construction boom expected in the region over the next 14 years, relevant industry data and research, pertaining to the infrastructure sector, is fundamental for industry players.”

“Highlighted within the 2014 Global Infrastructure Investment Index (GIII), the UAE and Qatar are highly ranked among the world’s 40 most dynamic countries with greatest potential for growth and investment in infrastructure. The analysis reveals insights into the peculiarities and opportunities in these countries, showcasing areas for long-term growth, financial risks and financial investor prospects.”

EC Harris’ GIII report is expected to launch regionally this quarter to further support the regions’ infrastructure Mega Projects. Regional experts across the sectors from EC Harris will participate and speak at the conference this week.

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS received overwhelming support from projects’ market stakeholders, such as CPC and HSBC which signed up as the event’s Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and BESIX / Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Bentley Systems as the CEO Forum Sponsor and Deloitte as Knowledge Partner.

Monday, April 28, 2014

GCC Invests Heavily In Turkish Real Estate

Demand for luxury residences in upmarket districts of Istanbul continues to rise, fueled by buyers from the Middle East who are also attracted by investment opportunities presented by developments in the city’s growing suburbs, said Turkish property agency Spot Blue International Property in April.

In March 2014 alone, foreigners bought 478 properties in Istanbul, out of a nationwide total of 1,362, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Istanbul accounted for 20 percent of all property transactions in Turkey during March. Evidence suggests that districts such as Bebek and Nişantaşı on the European side of the city, and Başdat Street on the Asian side are helping to drive foreign sales, as they attract an increasing number of wealthy citizens from the Gulf Nations. Sales to foreigners are further boosted by Middle Eastern investors targeting buy-to-let opportunities in residential developments in the suburban districts of Bahcesehir, Sariyer, Beylikduzu, Arnavutkoy and Esenyurt.

“The Gulf-Turkish affair is gaining momentum,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Only this month, Istanbul hosted an investment summit during which Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited investors from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to come to Turkey. Earlier in the year, a Turkish delegation was in Qatar promoting Turkey while a Kuwait Turkish Real Estate Forum will take place in Kuwait at the end of April. At Spot Blue we have seen a rise in interest from Kuwaitis and Qataris in particular in recent weeks. For Gulf investors, Istanbul is an attractive stepping stone between the East and West, as well as a place to be seen.”

Confidence in Istanbul’s property market has been boosted by a series of infrastructure projects set in motion by the governing AK Party, including a new mega airport and improved transport links between the Asian and European sides of the city, as well as an extension of the underground. In addition, $50 Billion has been committed to re-developing entire districts to ensure all buildings are earthquake proof. Construction is currently Turkey’s biggest industry sector.

Growth in Istanbul’s real estate market is unmatched by European markets, most of which remain depressed, and price growth is occurring at similar levels to London. “Typical buy-to-let investments are in the $150,000 to $200,000 bracket,” continued Julian Walker. “The market is moving quickly though. Our representative in Istanbul reports that new apartments in prime areas of Beylikduzu that were on the market six months ago for $80,000 could be worth circa $100,000 once the development is completed later in the year.”

Complementing Istanbul’s growing status amongst the international jet set is its increasing appeal to tourists. The city was voted the best place to visit in the world in this year’s TripAdvisor Awards, while 35 million people visited the country as a whole last year, a 10 percent increase over 2012, according to the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

$4 Trillion Construction Boom In MENA Region!

With more than $40bn worth of new contracts awarded in the six-nation GCC alone in the first quarter, the projects markets of the Middle East are set to enjoy a record-breaking year in 2014.

So far, the high profile projects that have been awarded include the $12bn Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s Clean Fuels Project; Qatar’s Ashgal has so far awarded over $3bn for the Expressway and LRDP projects; Abu Dhabi’s Musanada has awarded over $1bn worth of contracts for the Mafraq-Ghuweifat Road Development project; Qrail has awarded $700mn worth of contracts for the Elevated Section of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South project; and Al Reem Island in the UAE has awarded the main contract with a value of $705mn.

MEED's (Middle East Economic Digest's) latest forecast is that new contract awards in the GCC will approach $150bn in the year ending 2014 compared with about $135bn in the previous 12 months. The project boom encompasses all six markets and extends across all sectors.

Confidence is being further lifted by the irresistible rise in project spending in Iraq where oil production last year reached an all-time high of more than 3m b/d. At least $20bn of new contracts are expected to be placed in Iraq by the end of 2014 in a capital investment program that will establish the country as one of the most exciting prospects in the world for the local, regional and global construction industry.

Figures compiled by MEED Projects show that a total of almost $2.5 TRILLION worth of contracts are planned or under way in the GCC. A further $500bn worth of projects are at a similar stage in Iraq. For the MENA region as a whole, more than $4 TRILLION worth of projects are planned or under way.

This vast, varied and challenging opportunity will be comprehensively reviewed in MEED’s annual Arabian World Construction Summit (AWCS) which opens in the Sofitel Hotel on Palm Jumeirah on 12 May.

More than 60 speakers representing all high-growth Middle East construction markets and the region’s largest  project sectors will address the event.

Among the highlights of the summit includes a keynote session on developing “Solution-based Delivery Strategies for the Region’s Complex Construction Projects. Dr. Faysal Alaquil, Director, Department of Business Development & CSR, Construction Products Holding Company (CPC) of Saudi Arabia, a Strategic Partner of the event, says the complexity of the Mega Projects either underway or in the pipeline requires contractors to design and execute to the highest quality standards available. “We will share a number of building solutions that will help transform these projects from concept and design to physical realities that are not only of the highest technical standards, but conform to sustainable and environmental practices.”

Across the region, there is a greater need for social and housing capacity. In the past six years, according data collated by MEED Projects, residential projects comprised 29 percent of total construction projects awarded during the period, followed by mixed use projects at 18 percent.

With real estate opportunities back to pre-bust days, meeting the growing demand for private residential and social housing developments will be of paramount importance. Imad Ghantous, Managing Director-Property, Hyder Consulting Middle East, says “rapid population growth will be a key driver of this continued growth in the construction sector, with a particular focus on residential and social infrastructure projects.” Experts currently estimate that the region’s population is expected to grow to more than 600 million by 2030, from around 340 million today.

Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest project market which is expected to witness more than $70bn of projects awarded in 2014, will once again be at the heart of the conference. Speakers will review the trends in the Kingdom’s construction industry and evaluate the opportunities in energy, water, rail, port and real estate markets. Special attention will be paid to the remarkable King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh where one of the world’s largest new ports started operations earlier this year, and progress on the Jeddah Kingdom Tower, the world’s tallest building, and the supporting development. A special presentation will be delivered by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the largest new airport client in the Middle East.

The UAE will get special attention as investment in the federation starts in the race to the opening of the World Expo in Dubai. More than $100bn worth of new projects are on the agenda for the Emirate which expects 25m people to visit the six-month expo. The conference will review some of the largest real estate developments in Dubai including exciting projects being developed by Meraas Holdings.

Other markets to be reviewed will include Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and Egypt where 40 Mega Projects worth more than $500m are planned or under way.

The challenge of delivering complex, multi-component Mega Projects will be one of the key themes of AWCS 2014. Regional and global experts in Mega Project delivery and the role high-level program management can play in bringing Mega Projects in on time and budget will be among the primary topics of the event.

“The AWCS was launched in 2007 and is established as the premier annual event for major clients and senior construction industry executives working in the Middle East Mega Project market,” says MEED Events Chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “This year, the delegates will learn about the widest range of new projects and construction opportunities since the first AWCS opened seven years ago. I’m confident they will leave inspired to intensify their efforts across the region.”

As the premier construction event in the region, AWCS has been able to enlist the support of CPC and HSBC as Strategic Event Sponsors; Hyder Consulting and Six Construct as Gold Sponsors; Projacs, AGIS and Mashreq as Silver Sponsors; Drake & Scull, Hill International, Zurich and AKSA as Conference Sponsors; Deloitte as Knowledge Partner and EC Harris as Lunch Sponsor.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oman Comes On Strong With New Salalah Rotana Resort

The five-star Salalah Rotana Resort is now officially opened in the capital of the southern Omani province of Dhofar. The stunning 400 room waterfront resort, part of the company’s steadily expanding Rotana Resorts, is the Sultante’s largest free-standing hotel in Oman.

“We pride ourselves in identifying desirable travel destinations and are excited to begin a new journey today at the first hotel to be operated by Rotana in Oman. Not only does it take us one step closer to reaching our ultimate vision but it has strengthened the company’s standing as the leading hotel management company in the region,” stated Omer Kaddouri, President & CEO of Rotana.

Set on the pristine Arabian coast only a stone’s throw from the famous Salalah Beach, each of the resort’s luxury rooms and suites are positioned directly on unique lagoons or nestled around water features and an elaborate network of man made waterways which connect the property to the Indian Ocean and which are filled with 105,000m2 of seawater refreshed every four days using natural tidal patterns.

Salalah Rotana Resort sits at one with nature, and has been designed to offer guests a distinctive sense of calm. Drawing inspiration from the landscape’s natural beauty and culture, the heart of the hotel boasts high ceilings and a central internally-lit handmade red clay dome complementing the wooden finishing and decorative mashrabiya latticework windows. The in-room furnishings have been carved from desert rock while Arabesque geometric designs and stone archways, constructed using traditional techniques, resemble a cathedral atrium.

Ranging from 43 sq meters to 143 sq meters, Salalah Rotana Resort boasts some of the most spacious accommodations in Oman. Private terraces or balconies, ensuite bathrooms and generous living areas in each room and suite allows for optimal privacy and superior comfort in a grand setting.  The perfect destination for every type of traveller, the resort’s wide variety of dining options range from casual beachside cuisine and all-day-dining to fine dining Middle Eastern and Western fare.

Guests looking to rejuvenate and rebalance the body can make use of the Bodylines leisure and fitness club and impressive outdoor pool or indulge in spa treatments at Zen the spa, Rotana’s home-grown spa concept derived from ancient holistic Asian philosophies, which includes eight single-sex only treatment rooms and blends natural Omani elements with holistic treatments and rituals including full body massages, facials and soothing wraps.

Business visitors will benefit from a superb range of meeting rooms and a state of the art Business Center in addition to an array of business and leisure facilities.

Whether socializing at The Beach Bar & Restaurant, relaxing by the poolside or spending time with children in the sophisticated playful Kid’s Club, Salalah Rotana Resort exceeds the expectations of the most discerning guest.

++ I am glad to see Oman developing their own kind of Mega Projects that fit perfectly with the overall environment of the Sultanate.

Here is a link to the Salalah Rotana Resort site:
http://www.rotana.com/rotanahotelandresorts/oman/salalah/salalahrotanaresort

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Qatar Registers Second Highest Growth Rate In GCC Projects Market

Qatar’s projects market grew 26 percent last year, the second highest growth rate in the GCC, where project awards increased overall by 21 percent between 2012 and 2013, the first growth year since 2009.

The data was presented in a breakfast briefing at the Qatar Projects Conference, where a MEED Insight report detailed a comprehensive review of the GCC projects market from 2008-2013. The report said 2008 was a landmark year for Qatar, when over $22bn worth of projects were awarded predominantly by the construction and power sectors for megaprojects such as Ras Girtas Power & Water, Kharamaa Transmission Phase VIII, Barwa City Development and the Lusail Development.

Fast forward to 2013, Qatar maintains its momentum, awarding as much as $20bn on projects such as Qrail’s Doha Metro Red and Green Lines and several stations, which account for 41 percent of all projects awarded in the country.

Overall, during the period in review from 2008-2013, Qatar’s project market accounted for 12 percent ($96bn) of the total projects awarded in the GCC, for a massive outlay of an average of $16bn a year.

MEED Insight expects a robust 2014, with project awards estimated to range between $140-150bn. The outlook is also positive over the long-term, as GCC economies continue to grow and as the population explodes requiring further investments in infrastructure.

Challenges will most likely come from stiffer competition as contractors from Asia move to gain a bigger share of the market; and financing will play a factor in ensuring projects are not delayed.

Meanwhile, Elie Andraos, General Manager of Al Maysan, says the steady growth of the projects market is a great opportunity for heavy equipment and machinery suppliers. “Our participation in MEED’s Qatar Projects Conference 2014 is due to its importance in attracting local and international contractors. This conference is considered as a unique opportunity to display SANY’s heavy equipment and its proven reliability and quality in major construction projects in the GCC region. We are delighted to have participated, as it falls in line with Qatar’s 2030 vision in all aspects, particularly economic and construction,” he added.

Qatar Projects Conference concluded successfully, with optimism high among project stakeholders about the continued expansion of the projects market in Qatar. This year’s conference was supported by Samsung as the Official Technology Partner, Qatar Steel as Associate Partner, Mashreq and Global Building Solutions as Silver Sponsors, Parsons, Al Maysan and Larsen & Toubro as Bronze Sponsors.

Other corporate partners include Ibq (Gala Dinner Sponsor), Qatar Insurance Group (Lunch Sponsor), SEIB (Dedicated Partner and Breakfast Sponsor), PWC (as Reception Sponsor), HSBC (Masterclass Sponsor), Drake & Scull, ECG Engineering Consultants Group SA, Zurich Insurance and Hill International as Conference sponsors; and Shapoorji Pallonji as the Networking Sponsor.

Exhibiting companies include Al Jaber Engineering, ASTAD Project Management, International Aramoon Co Ltd as well as Salfo and Associates SA.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marjan Island Resort & Spa Opens in Ras Al Khaimah

Located on a private island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah, Marjan Island Resort and Spa opened its doors to the public this month.  Offering spacious and sumptuously decorated accommodations, the resort boasts a total of 302 rooms and suites with large balconies from which guests can view idyllic island sunsets with the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf right on the doorstep. All rooms and suites, designed in palatial grandeur and thoughtfully decorated with Arabian touches, feature exclusive amenities and advanced interactive multimedia systems.

Marjan Island Resort and Spa prides itself on being a true family destination with a superb range of facilities and activities for even the very youngest of guests, including an indoor-outdoor playground, Pirate’s Club, Youngsters Entertainment Fun Center, dedicated children’s swimming pool and a host of watersports on the island’s two pristine beaches.  Visitors will discover a variety of delectable dining outlets on the resort’s 1-km seafront boardwalk.

Relaxation and wellbeing are essential elements of the resort’s vision, with an entire floor dedicated to the La’Mar Holistic Wellness Spa which houses separate ladies and gentlemen’s treatment rooms, Hamams, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, gyms and an indoor swimming pool.   Guests can book an appointment with a nutritionist or a cosmetic specialist, which forms part of the resort’s extensive wellbeing facility.

For business there is no need to leave the resort.  With a 250-person ballroom, fully serviced business center as well as a boardroom and various breakout rooms, executives and decision-makers will have everything they need to get the job done.

“I’ve been in the hotel business for over 30 years, and you don’t get opportunities like this very often, to work in a destination as beautiful and rewarding as Marjan Island - Ras Al Khaimah, managing a property as amazing as Marjan Island Resort and Spa,” said Roger Tannous - General Manager, a Lebanese national who is also fluent in English and French and Arabic. “I am thrilled to be working with Marjan Island Resort and Spa’s management and owners. This resort is a one-of-a-kind, offering families a complete immersion in an authentic, intimate Arabian experience soaking up the culture, hospitality, tranquility and stunning surroundings, and that remains truer today than ever before.”

“We already have such an incredible property, the type of place where you can spend a week and not go out at all, just soaking up the cultural experience and one of the regions’ biggest spas, fine restaurants and lavish guest rooms,” said Khalid Motik – EAM Marjan Island Resort & Spa.

“We are confident that now is the time to bring Marjan Island Resort and Spa Ras Al Khaimah to the world. We have listened carefully to what our customers are looking for and we have taken the necessary time to ensure the product offering is just right. It has been meticulously planned and we are extremely happy with the result.” Mr. Motik further added.

++ Marjan Island Resort and Spa is owned by Manazil Real Estate Group of Sharjah and managed by InnovationZ Hospitality Group, specialists in resort operations, and is located on a private island off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. They have done a great job with the development of this Mega Project! Here is a link to their website:
http://www.marjanislandresort.com/

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Completed GCC Construction Projects Up 27 Percent In Value For 2013

++ Total value of completed projects reached US$69.91bn

++ Residential (US$30.3bn), Commercial (US$12.7bn) and Education (US$7.01bn) were the leading sectors

++ GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market also increased by 8 percent

++ A further 17 percent and 18 percent increase forecasted in 2014 for the Construction and Interiors Markets respectively

Construction projects across all building sectors worth US$69.91bn were completed in the GCC in 2013 according to a study conducted by Ventures ME and commissioned by DMG Events. The research also looks into 2014 and estimates projects for US$83.41bn (+17.43%) to be completed and US$82.2bn to be awarded across the year. US$7.81bn is the value of the related 2013 GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market that registered an 8 percent increase compared to 2012 and is expected to increase by another 18 percent this year.

This is the third consecutive year that DMG Events, the company behind INDEX - the leading MENA Design exhibition – and workspace at INDEX, has invested in the study, contributing to the global industry with useful regional market insights.

Overview of 2013 GCC Building Construction Projects:

With residential (43.3%), commercial (18.2%) and educational (10%) segments leading the way, 2013 has been a positive year for the construction market. US$69.91bn worth of projects were completed with a further US$71bn worth of projects awarded. Hospitality, medical and retail buildings were also completed – with total values of US$4.6bn, US$2.4bn and US$1.8bn respectively.

KSA and the UAE rank in the top two positions for all sectors with the exception of education and healthcare for which Qatar ranks top with completed projects worth US$4.6bn in the educational segment (KSA: US$1.01bn; UAE: US$714m) and worth US$1.12bn in the healthcare segment (KSA US$482m; UAE US$570m).

Overview of 2013 GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market:

The value of the GCC Interior Contracting and Fit-out Market in 2013 was US$7.81bn – an increase of 8 percent when compared to 2012. KSA was the largest market with a 47.4 percent share (US$3.7bn) followed by the UAE and Qatar valued at US$2.39bn and US$953m respectively. The residential sector accounted for almost half of the overall 2013 market with a market share of 42.6 percent (US$3.33bn). The commercial sector followed with a 17.9 percent share corresponding to a value of US$1.40bn and the hospitality sector with 13.4 percent share and a value of US$1.05bn.

2014 Forecast:

According to the Ventures ME study, figures for 2014 are expected to increase further for both the building construction and interiors markets. US$83.41bn worth of completed projects and US$82.8bn worth of awarded projects are forecasted over the next 12 months; the interiors market is also likely to grow by 18 percent and reach an estimated value of US$9.2bn by the end of the year.

Building Construction Market 2014 Forecast:

The Healthcare Sector is expected to grow by 250 percent from a value of US$2.4bn registered in 2013, to an estimated value of US$8.4bn. The UAE in particular will be the country with the majority of healthcare buildings completed worth a total value of US$3.19bn - almost five times the value registered in 2013 - followed by KSA with US$3.09bn and Qatar US$1.7bn. Kuwait is also worth highlighting with the value of projects completed moving from US$47m in 2013 to an estimated US$317m in 2014.

Despite the huge increase in the Healthcare Sector, the building construction market will still be led by the residential and commercial sectors that together will account for over half of the market share concentrated particularly in KSA, the UAE and Qatar.

Interior Fit-out Market 2014 Forecast:

Out of an overall estimated market value of US$9.2bn, the Residential Sector will account for 35.9 percent and US$3.33bn in value, followed by the Hospitality Sector at 19.8 percent and US$1.82bn of value and the Commercial Sector with 15.7 percent and US$ 1.44bn in value. When compared to 2013 figures, the Healthcare Sector will see the biggest growth with a huge 256 percent increase and reaching a value of US$672m. The Retail Interiors Market is expected to see the biggest drop in value from US$393m to US$308m.

Commenting on the figures released by Ventures ME, Frederique Maurell, Group Event Director for INDEX and workspace at INDEX, said: “Most segments of the GCC Building Construction market have recovered significantly from the downturn and 2013 has been positive with residential, education and hospitality segments in particular showing signs of growth and a strong recovery.”

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Hazaa Bin Zayed Mega Project For Al Ain

Major details of the massive mixed use Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium project in Al Ain have been announced today including a hotel, residential and commercial buildings, a sports center, and food and retail outlets. Once complete, the project will be the main attraction for hundreds of community, entertainment and business events.

The new development covers an area of 500,000 square meters which, in addition to the main stadium, includes a community with 700 residential units in a complex of apartments and green spaces, two office buildings of 20,000 square meters, and a chain of 50 restaurants and retail outlets plus a 172 room international hotel.

The project, which will be constructed in phases, will have a public courtyard for both visitors and residents, stylish promenades linked together by a network of pedestrian walkways and a family entertainment area synonymous with a healthy and modern lifestyle. The multi-use project is part of a vision of building a touristic, social and sports destination that includes Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium and the area surrounding it, to foster ongoing growth and development in Al Ain and the UAE.

The Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium, which will be launched mid-January 2014, is considered an architectural marvel and one of the most impressive and technologically advanced sports constructions in the UAE. It can accommodate 25,000 spectators and was built in only 17 months, measuring up to the best international standards.

The development is located in the strategic Tawya area of Al Ain, which is easily accessible for visitors coming from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and with close proximity from the city’s main roads. It is only 15 minutes from Al Ain Airport, and is situated near other main attractions in Al Ain which makes it one of the most sought after destinations by families in Al Ain and the UAE in general.

The Plaza area will stand as the main part of the project and the head point for all sports and social gatherings, with the Hazaa Bin Zayed Stadium in the background adding even more atmosphere to the open spaces and surrounded by a number of restaurants and retail outlets.

The project will also include a healthy lifestyle area with a number of sports zones and a dedicated pool and gymnasium considered to be the biggest of its kind in Abu Dhabi. The whole project has been planned to reflect the principles of health and well-being and encourage a more sporting life. The Plaza and the area surrounding the stadium are designed to help walking as no cars are allowed inside. The outer area of the project includes cycling, jogging and walking tracks.

The family entertainment area provides its visitors with a wide selection of entertainment facilities that suit different age groups and several sports activities to help residents and tourists enjoy their time in a healthy and stylish atmosphere throughout the year.

The restaurant and café area is located near the hotel, linked together with a pedestrian design that provides access to as many of the development’s destinations as possible and provides a location for a variety of high-end restaurants and coffee shops.

The new stadium will be officially opened in January 2014. The celebrations will include a 3 day family festival from January 16-18, plus other events for launching the stadium. The 25,000 capacity Hazza Bin Zayed stadium will officially be the new home for Al Ain Football Club’s first team, and is intended to boost the sports activities in the UAE. The stadium covers an area of 45,000 square meters and it is 50 meters high which makes it one of the highest buildings in Al Ain City. It hosts more than 3,000 premium seats, one of the highest ratios of premium seating in the world for football stadiums. The mobile roof can move to cover the whole play field during the hotter months. The marvelous design of the outer façade of the stadium is inspired by the trunk of the palm tree which is an integral part of the UAE’s heritage and legacy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Billionaires - World's Richest Arabs 2013

Here is a list compiled by ArabianBusiness.com of the World's Richest Arabs for 2013. I think you will enjoy reading it. These are the wealthiest Arabs in the world and most of them are involved in one way or another with the Mega Projects going up in the MENA Region. As you will see Saudi Arabia is by far the leader in Arab Billionaires. For some reason, aside from Prince Alwaleed of KSA, the list does not include any other Arab Royals. Perhaps this is because their net worth is harder to estimate.

WORLD'S RICHEST ARABS 2013

1. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, KSA, $31.2 Bil

2. Mohamed Al Jaber, KSA, $12.66 Bil

3. Olayan Family, KSA, $12.5 Bil

4. Mohammed Al Amoudi, KSA, $12 Bil

5. Issam Al Zahid, KSA, $11.6 Bil

6. Sawiris Family, Egypt, $11.2 Bil

7. Kharafi Family, Kuwait, $8.6 Bil

8. Binladin Family, KSA, $8.1 Bil

9. Joesph Safra, Brazil/Lebanon, $7.5 Bil

10. Said Khoury, Palestine, $7.2 Bil

11. Bukhamseen Family, Kuwait, $6.8 Bil

12. Al Ghurair Family, UAE, $6.3 Bil

13. Kanoo Family, Bahrain, $6.1 Bil

14. Majid Al Futtaim, UAE, $6.1 Bil

15. Tareq Al Qahtani, KSA, $6 Bil

16. Bugshan Family, KSA, $6 Bil

17. Toufic Aboukhater, Palestine, $5.8 Bil

18. Mansour Family, Egypt, $5.1 Bil

19. Mohamed Abdul Latif Jameel, KSA, $5 Bil

20. Abdullah Al Rushaid, KSA, $4.6 Bil

21. Mubarak Al Suweiket, KSA, $4.5 Bil

22. Al Rajhi Family, KSA, $4.3 Bil

23. Gargash Family, UAE, $3.7 Bil

24. Adel Aujan, KSA, $3.56 Bil

25. Taha Mikati, Lebanon, $3.5 Bil

26. Mohammad Jamjoom, KSA, $3.4 Bil

27. Najib Mikati, Lebanon, $3.4 Bil

28. Alghanim Family, Kuwait, $3.4 Bil

29. Saad Hariri, Lebanon, $3.3 Bil

30. Sulaiman Al Muhaidib, KSA, $3.3 Bil

31. Abdulatif Al Fozan, KSA, $3.25 Bil

32. Hayek Family, Lebanon/Switzerland, $3.2 Bil

33. Bahaa Hariri, KSA, $3.1 Bil

34. Munib Masri, Palestine, $3 Bil

35. Zamil Family, KSA, $2.9 Bil

36. Mansour Ojjeh, KSA, $2.8 Bil

37. Mohammed Elkhereiji, KSA, $2.73 Bil

38. Ayman Asfari, UK/Syria, $2.7 Bil

39. Mohammed Sharbatly, KSA, $2.69 Bil

40. Osama Abu Dawood, KSA, $2.68 Bil

41. Wafic Said, UK/Syria, $2.6 Bil

42. Mohammed Al Barwani, Oman, $2.6 Bil

43. Ziad Manasir, Joedan, $2.58 Bil

44. Mohammed Al Issa, KSA, $2.38 Bil

45. Nadhmi Auchi, UK/Iraq, $2.2 Bil

46. Mohammed Ibrahim, Sudan, $2.15 Bil

47. Miloud Chaabi, Morocco, $2.1 Bil

48. Saleh Kamel, KSA, $2 Bil

49. Fawaz Al Hokair, KSA, $1.98 Bil

50. Ayman Hariri, KSA, $1.95 Bil

Source:
http://www.arabianbusiness.com/the-world-s-richest-arabs-530591.html

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Abu Dhabi To Spend $100 Billion On Projects!

Abu Dhabi’s project spending could balloon to over $100 billion in the next seven years as the government ramps up efforts to sustain economic gains built over the last few years.

The 8th Abu Dhabi Conference 2013, which began yesterday, highlighted the key sectors that will receive the bulk of investments until 2020.

According to MEED, which tracks projects activity throughout the Middle East, construction projects remain the most active with $30 billion worth of projects to be awarded in the next seven years, followed by the Oil & Gas sector with a project pipeline valued at $25 billion.

Transport and chemical-related projects will also see a surge in investments with a total of $20 billion contracts to be awarded during the same period. The industrial as well as power & water sectors will likewise be busy with contracts valued at $6 billion and $5 billion to be awarded until 2020.

H.E. Eng. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy delivered the opening address this morning, and said that the UAE economy is growing strongly and will benefit from new government measures designed to promote the private sector and foreign investment. “The UAE economy is on solid ground. It has been attracting visitors and investors looking for a safe haven in the Middle East. Growth was 4.4 percent in 2012, its fastest pace since 2006. In view of improved activities, we expect UAE GDP to have expanded by 4.5 percent this year.”

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) Undersecretary H.E. Mohammed Omar Abdullah then spoke to the conference delegates about creating a business hub critical to the global economy, highlighting the initiatives and upcoming projects aimed at driving long term investments into Abu Dhabi.

And for the first time at a conference – H.E. Dr. Abdullah Hassan Ghareeb Al Bloushi, Executive Director, Land and Property Management Sector, Department of Municipal Affairs presented details of the Onwani project – the unified addressing and wayfinding project for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, saying “This is the largest project the municipal system in Abu Dhabi has ever undertaken, and it is also one of the Emirate’s most important. The vital infrastructure provided by the new addressing system will take us forward to meet future economic and social challenges and bring real benefits to residents, businesses and visitors alike. It is not only a street map for the Emirate, but a road for development.”

This year alone, based on an article 'Gulf projects market hits new peak' recently released by MEED, the construction sector in Abu Dhabi picked up pace when the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) awarded the long-awaited $653m contract to build the Louvre Museum on Saadiyat Island to a consortium comprising the local Arabtec Construction, Spain’s San Jose and Oger Abu Dhabi – the local affiliate of Saudi Oger.

TDIC has also tendered the contract to build the Zayed National Museum on Saadiyat Island, although an award is not expected this year. In July, Abu Dhabi-based Saadiyat Investment & Development Company awarded a $482m contract to local Al-Jaber Building for the construction of 462 villas at the Hidd al-Saadiyat Villas Development on the island.

As a result, along with new projects awarded in Dubai, the UAE has seen the largest rise in project activity in the GCC this year. MEED’s Gulf Projects Index is now at its highest level ever, having reached $3.19 trillion this month.

“The return to growth is the latest chapter in what has been a roller coaster ride for the index over the past seven years. The index remained relatively flat until about 12 months ago, when it began to move upwards as stalled projects were revived and new schemes launched, which has seen it grow more than 30 percent to its current level of $3.19 trillion. The major driver of this growth has been the UAE, with Abu Dhabi contributing a significant chunk of investments,” said Richard Thompson, Editor, MEED.

By 2014, the IMF has forecasted real GDP growth for the UAE of 3.6 percent (up from 3.1 percent last year) owing to the government’s continued push to boost the economy led by a spate of new infrastructure investments.

“Abu Dhabi has targeted knowledge-intensive sectors, such as aviation, petrochemicals, renewable energy and health care. The developments across these strategic sectors are aimed to make the capital an attractive proposition for domestic and international investors,” said Abraham Akkawi, MENA Infrastructure Advisory Services Leader, Ernst & Young.

Yesterday’s highlights included a special VIP Plenary Session that provided a snapshot of project opportunities, achievements and challenges faced in delivering Abu Dhabi’s economic vision 2030 across key sectors. The session was led by a panel of authorities from Abu Dhabi’s key agencies such as the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD), Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), Industrial Development Bureau as well as the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

The Abu Dhabi Conference is an annual gathering of government and private sector leaders which enables discussions and updates on upcoming project and investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi’s diverse economy. It is a heavily Government supported event, with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, Western Region Development Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority as supporting partners; The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority as Strategic Partner, Zones Corp as Industrial Partner and the Abu Dhabi Chamber as silver sponsor. Other conference partners include Al Khalij Bank Hill International, E&Y, Bentley Systems and Mashreq. For more information on the conference: http://www.theabudhabiconference.com/

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dubai Wins Bid For World Expo 2020 - New Boom For Dubai!

Dubai is on the cusp of yet another development boom as it seeks to strengthen its position as the leading business and tourism hub in the region.

Detailing the latest investment and development opportunities in Dubai, MEED(Middle East Economic Digest) has organized Destination Dubai 2020 to dissect, along with local and international experts, the various factors that will shape Dubai’s development trajectory in the next six years.

Among the highlights of the conference presentations and panel discussions include the impact of Dubai winning its World Expo 2020 bid, with leading stakeholders from across Dubai’s key government agencies outlining their future plans in detail for the first time after securing the rights to host the expo.

The total value to the economy of staging the event has been estimated at AED143.22bn. More than 277,000 jobs would be created between 2013 and 2021 as a result, with about 40 per cent in the travel and tourism sector. For every Expo employee, about 60 additional jobs would be sustained in the wider economy.

“MEED has organized Destination Dubai to track the exciting new developments happening in Dubai until 2020, a critical case especially in light of its winning expo bid and just a decade before the governments 2030 vision for the country. We wholeheartedly support Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid and look forward to working with our friends and partners in Dubai and the UAE to ensure the 2020 Expo will be the best ever," Ben Greenish, Managing Director, MEED.

Dubai’s bid dossier estimates hosting the expo will cost $8.7bn in total – $7bn in investments and operating expenses of $1.7bn. Capital expenditure will mainly cover the development of the expo’s planned 4.4 square-kilometer plot in Jebel Ali and connecting infrastructure such as extending the Dubai Metro’s Red Line.

However, investors surveyed by the local chapter of CFA Institute, a global organization of investment professionals, are concerned that a successful bid by Dubai to host the expo could lead to another economic bubble. The study measured the opinions of 216 investment professionals in the UAE, and found out that more than half of the survey’s respondents (55 per cent) were concerned that a successful bid for the Expo 2020 will create another economic bubble, and only a quarter believed the UAE has done enough to make its economy immune since 2008.

Meanwhile, Egypt-headquartered investment bank EFG Hermes says the expo will make the country’s debt situation more pressing than it is now. “If the next phase of the investment cycle, accelerated by the Expo, is not met by revenue-building measures and asset sales, this could result in total Dubai debt rising to 110-115 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, up from 102 per cent of GDP currently,” the lender said in a report.

Without a doubt, the winning expo bid will provide a massive tourism boost. It is estimated that over the six months of the event 25 million people would visit Dubai Expo 2020, with more than 70 per cent coming from outside the UAE.

Destination Dubai will track the road map to Dubai’s continuing economic recovery, providing investors and stakeholders insights on what is driving confidence in the Emirate’s equity market, which this year has seen a 60 percent rise in growing confidence in Dubai’s long-term prospects.

Of primary importance to the readers of this blog will be a dedicated session on the real estate sector that will provide attendees key insights on one of Dubai’s most critical growth drivers. “Real estate prices in the Emirate have risen more than 30 per cent since the start of the year on growing demand from local, regional and international investors. In addition, major private and government-related real estate projects involving billions of dollars of new investment in Dubai have been announced, opening a possible new boom phase in Dubai’s property market,” says MEED’s editorial director Richard Thompson.

Other initiatives that are transforming Dubai into an unrivaled global hub and the gateway to the high-growth emerging markets (CIS, Africa, China and India) will be comprehensively discussed at Destination Dubai, detailing the road map for the build up and creation of a genuine and holistic “destination” involving travel, industry, real estate, tourism, retail and hospitality infrastructure and support systems.

++ In my opinion Dubai's winning bid for World Expo 2020 is extremely POSITIVE for the real estate market in Dubai and the rest of the UAE. The best is yet to come!

Scheduled to take place on January 28-29, 2014 at the JW Marriott Marquis, Destination Dubai is sponsored by Hill International.
http://www.destinationdubai2020.com/homepage.asp